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Laura Wingfield: A Caged Bird With Clipped Wings

1366 words - 6 pages

Laura Wingfield: A Caged Bird with Clipped Wings
Playing with her glass menagerie entertains her, listening to her father’s Victrola records calms her, and taking a stroll through the park to the museum, zoo, and movies is what she does on a daily basis to kill time. Laura Wingfield, the protagonist of The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, lives in the mid 20th century, in urban St. Louis. Laura is different from other people, “A childhood illness has left her crippled, one leg slightly shorter than the other, and held in a brace…Stemming from this, Laura’s separation increases till she is like a piece of her own glass collection, too exquisitely fragile to move from the shelf” ...view middle of the document...

The rose flower, usually red, has the meaning of love, but a blue rose is not naturally grown, and out of the ordinary, describing Laura perfectly. She is the one blue rose out of the dozen of red roses; she is different from everyone else, and not ordinary. Jim, after seeing how emotionally fragile Laura is, tells her ‘“The different people are not like other people, but being different is nothing to be ashamed of. Because other people are not such wonderful people. They’re one hundred times one thousand. You’re one times one! They walk all over the earth. You just stay here. They’re as common as—weeds, but—you—well, you’re—Blue Roses!”’ (Williams Scene 7. 87). Jim compares common people to weeds, and Laura to blue roses, emphasizing Laura as different, and special. In the book, Laura is described as having “[...A fragile, unearthly prettiness has come out of Laura: she is like a piece of translucent glass touched by light, given a momentary radiance, not actual, not lasting.]” (Williams Scene 6. 51). Laura’s prettiness is fragile, and does not last long; like her glass collection, she is breakable.
Throughout the book, Laura exhibits perturbation, showing her mental disquiet, disturbance, and agitation. She struggles with her internal feelings with other characters in the book. Laura cannot help having a crush on Jim, and Jim also feels somewhat attracted to Laura. He says “I happened to notice you had this inferiority complex that keeps you from feeling comfortable with people. Somebody needs to build your confidence up and make you proud instead of shy and turning away and–blushing. Some-body—ought to—kiss you, Laura! […He suddenly turns her about and kisses her on the lips…He coughs decorously and moves a little farther aside as he considers the situation and senses her feelings, dimly, with perturbation…] (Williams Scene 7. 88-89). After being kissed for the first time, Laura is perturbed, both flustered and confused. Soon after kissing Laura, Jim accidentally breaks Laura’s glass unicorn: “[They suddenly bump into the table, and the glass piece on it falls to the floor…]…Jim: ‘I hope that it wasn’t the little glass horse with the horn!’ Laura: ‘Yes….Now it is just like all the other horses….I’ll just imagine he had an operation. The horn was removed to make him feel less—freakish! Now he will feel more at home with the other horses, the ones that don’t have horns…’” (Williams Scene 7. 86). This incident is a metaphor, relating to Laura getting kissed. The glass unicorn represents Laura, who is the odd one out of all of the horses; she knows that she is not like normal people, she feels freakish, and does not feel at home. Once Laura the unicorn receives a kiss, her horn breaks, and she becomes a normal horse. Bert Cardullo also relates Laura to her glass unicorn: “That beauty [her yearning for both ideal or mystical beauty and spiritual or romantic love] is also symbolized by Laura’s favorite among the animals in her glass menagerie,...

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