Symbolism of the Glass Menagerie
Symbolism of The Glass Menagerie In Tennessee Williams’ play The Glass Menagerie, there is an abundance of symbolism that can be identified through careful analysis of the play write. The story is based around the Wingfield family. The daughter in the story is the central point of most of the symbolism. Laura, the daughter, has a collection of glass figurines in which the title of the play was named after. Within the glass collection there is a glass unicorn which holds a lot of symbolism and meaning behind it.
The fire escape is the simplest, but most intriguing piece of symbolism.The Glass Menagerie has many symbolic objects throughout the play which can be analyzed further in detail. The title of the play is representational of the collection of animals witch is the central symbol of the play. Laura’s collection of glass figurines stands for a great deal of different aspects of her personality. Much like the figurines, Laura is tender, dreamlike, and somewhat old-fashioned. When it comes to glass it’s transparent, but when light passes through it at the right angle it shines and makes a rainbow of colors.Likewise, Laura might be quiet and unemotional around other people, kind of strange, gifted and wonderful to be around to one who could somehow look at her the right way or “in the right light”.
The menagerie also symbolizes the imaginary world that Laura keeps herself in; a world that is beautiful and wonderful, but is established on fragile mirages. The unicorn in Laura’s collection of glass animals is defiantly her favorite out of all of them and portrays her distinctiveness very well.By asking why she has the unicorn since they are “extinct in modern times” and must feel “lonesome” as the mere fact of being different from all horses, Jim is implying that Laura is different from all girls. In reading more one can tell that Laura is also different, lonely, and, does not seem to exist in the world that she is lives in now. The destiny of the unicorn can be noted as a fore shadow to Laura’s destiny in scene seven. As Jim dances with Laura sharing a kiss, the unicorn’s horn is broken off, and it simply becomes another horse.Now Jim has bestowed Laura with some new and normal experiences, making her seem just like all the other girls.
Experiencing normalcy, results in Laura feeling she cannot become normal without somehow being broken. Finally, the fire escape landing that leads out of the Wingfield’s apartment has great meaning. The fire escape stands for the exact thing that is implied by its name, a way to get away. Just as a fire escape provided a way to get away from danger, likewise it symbolizes an escape from the frustration and dysfunctions that are brewing within the Wingfield apartment.Laura’s fall on the fire escape implies she will never be able to leave the mishaps that have happened in her life. In contrast her brother Tom, daydreams about when he will finally leave it all behind as he smokes on the escape landing. Symbolism is a very important key component to literature and contributes to the interpretation and understanding of it.
Symbolism can help reveal multiple aspects about the story that sometimes can’t be revealed simply through the text. It is through the glass collection the author conveys Laura’s personality throughout the story.