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The Symbolic Views Of A Glass Menagerie

1644 words - 7 pages

The Symbolic Views of a Glass Menagerie
Symbols play a vital role in everyone’s day-to-day life, now when you think of glass as a symbol, what’s the first thought that comes to mind? As you might have suspected, “The Glass Menagerie” is full of hidden symbols which are utilized throughout the play and are unique while playing a vital role in telling the story. The most obvious symbol in this play would be Laura's glass sculptures, also known as her glass menagerie. Besides the menagerie, there are various symbols throughout the play such as movies and a magician, the fire escape, a Unicorn, and leg braces. Each of these symbols adds to the negativity this household endures as a whole while ...view middle of the document...

When Laura finds her calling and escapes from the house she will shine bright and show her sparkle to the world.
While Tom uses his own imagination to escape the realism of his life he also found one thing that gives him hope. Tom sees the movies and Malvolio (the magician) as an escape from reality. He can have the chaos of his family life and escape into his own illusions. The magician especially shows this. Tom is very envious of one of the magician’s tricks. The magician was able to escape from a box coffin which was nailed shut. Tom too has a locked coffin, his entire life. He wanted nothing more than to be able to disappear and be free from what’s closing him in. Using the plays symbols to understand and visualize its importance while some critics have objected to the pervasiveness of the plays symbols, most concur that they significantly enhance the meaning of the characters and the action. Kappo Phelan states "While some critics have objected to the pervasiveness of the plays symbols, most concur that they significantly enhance the meaning of the characters and the action." (The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams). In addition to his own unhappiness, Tom is still worrying about Laura and what will ultimately happen to her.
This simple platform of wood which is used for emergencies can be easily turned into a dreamer’s paradise. Tom uses the fire escape to visualize his getaway from the house and dream of the endless possibilities which awaits him. The current situation Tom is stuck in has slowly sucked the life out of him and doesn't look very promising for his future that's taking him nowhere fast. When things overwhelm Tom, he escapes reality by smoking a cigarette on the fire escape.
Tom dreams of a life overflowing with bigger and better things which in his eyes, is just taking way too long. Laura has the same idea when it comes to the fire escape. Laura being trapped inside the house due to her braces has made life very difficult for her. When Laura looks out onto the fire escape, she visualizes life without the braces and being able to escape out into the world. Sometimes the simplest of things can create a wonderful visual escape from the negative around you.
The unicorn is a direct symbol of Laura. When Laura is showing it to Jim, he points out that unicorns are extinct and that he must feel lonely. Laura claims that he is okay and quietly gets along with the others, much like how she is with her life. The unicorn is left on the table while Jim leads her to a dance. Not only is he leading her in a Waltz, he is also just plain leading her on. She begins to feel like a "normal" girl only to have her happiness come crashing down in more ways than one. The unicorn doesn't have that one characteristic that makes him specials and Jim took the "horn" from Laura. (1675). The unicorn's horn is broken, and this event, aside from its possible sexual meaning, symbolizes the loss of magic that occurs in the household with Tom’s...

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