Glass Menegries Essay

This essay has a total of 963 words and 4 pages.


Glass Menegries





Arnold Cooper
enc 1102
Dr. C


In Tennessee Williams' play The Glass Menagerie, Williams uses many symbols which
represent many different things. Many of the symbols used in the play try to symbolize
some form of escape or a link to a world of illusion. Just a few of these are the fire
escape, the movies, and even more important, Laura's glass unicorn. Williams uses numerous
representations in his play to create a more elaborate story for the reader. Some are very
subtle such as the blue roses flashed across the screen. These may represent the
melancholy attitude of Laura. Many, however are much more glaring. The first symbol,
presented in the first scene, is the fire escape. This represents the "bridge" between the
illusory world of the Wingfields and the world of reality. While it may be a symbol of
passage to all the charachters, it seems to have an individualized meaning to each of them
as well. For Tom, the fire escape is the way out of the world of Amanda and Laura and an
entrance into the world of reality. For Laura, the fire escape is a way into her world. A
way to escape from reality. Both examples can readily be seen: Tom will stand outside on
the fire escape to smoke, showing that he does not like to be inside, he would rather
venture out into the world. As Tom seeks a route outward, Laura, thinks of the fire escape
as a way into her own private place where she is safe from reality. This can be seen when
Amanda sends Laura to go to the store and Laura trips on the fire escape. She uses it much
more directly to shield her from the harsh world that she despises. This also shows that
Laura's fears and emotions greatly affect her physical condition, and perhaps even begin
to throw doubt on the degree of her handicap. Another symbol presented deals more with Tom
than any of the other characters. This is Tom's habit of going to the movies. It shows us
his longing to leave the apartment and head out into the world away from the confines of
the same rooms he has always known. A place where one can find adventure and romance. And
Tom, being a poet, can understand the longing men sometimes have for adventure and
romance. A similar symbol is the poster of the Merchant Marines, which Tom aspires to
join. He is kept from realizing his ambitions by Amanda, who criticizes him for being a
"selfish dreamer." But, Tom has made steps to escape from his monotonous life by
transferring the payment of a light bill to pay for his dues in the Merchant Seaman's
Union. Still another symbol, which deals with both Amanda and Laura, is Jim O'Connor. To
Laura, Jim represents her greatest fear, reality. She is so scared of facing up to life
that she runs from any responsibility or connection to the outside world. Jim is a perfect
example of "the common man." A person with no real outstanding quality. In fact, Jim is
rather awkward, which can be seen when he dances with Laura. To Amanda, Jim represents the
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