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Glass Menagerie Discussion Question 1

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A menagerie is either a strange and diverse collection of items, or a collection of wild animals kept in captivity for exhibition. In the play The Glass Menagerie, written by Tennessee Williams, Laura, the main character and narrator Tom's older sister, keeps a collection of little glass animal figurines. She takes great care of them, always cleaning or polishing them. Laura has no self esteem at all due to her limp, and school was so frightening for her that she would literally become sick. Almost all of her time was dedicated to the care of her glass menagerie. Her mother, Amanda, was the first one to call it a glass menagerie.

In a scene near the end of the play, the gentleman caller, Jim O'Connor, teaches her how to dance and they bump into the table where a little glass unicorn was sitting. The unicorn falls, and its horn is broken. It was the only unicorn in a midst of horses. The unicorn represents Laura herself, and the horn represents her limp. During that scene, Jim helps her become less shy and more open to him. The horn breaking off from the unicorn symbolizes her breaking free from her reclusiveness due to her limp.

I personally have a glass menagerie of little animals that I collected from my trips to Vietnam over the past thirteen years of my life. My friends also brought me a few from countries that they visited. I do not take as good care of them as Laura does, but I make sure they don't break. There are definitely more than fifty of them, but I've never counted. Each one is no taller than my thumb, and they're very shiny. After reading the play, I shined a light under the display they are on, and it was mesmerizing. My favorite one has to be the mushroom. It is the only one that isn't an animal, and it is just too adorable.



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