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The Glass Menagerie Play Analysis

Essay by   •  April 26, 2011  •  Essay  •  758 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,209 Views

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The Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams, is a play which focuses on the theme of facing reality. Everyone in the Wingfield family is in the same boat. None of them can grasp the concept of reality. Laura's world surrounds glass figurines. This is where the glass menagerie comes into play. Each member of the family faces problems that they must overcome by coming to terms with what is real. Each problem has specific symbolism behind it.

Laura is a very quiet girl. She seems extremely kept to herself. She doesn't want to be involved with anyone else. Laura is the character with the glass figurine set. This is a huge symbol of her life itself. She is a very fragile, breakable soul, just as her glass animals are. Laura is too frightened to leave her home. She feels completely safe and untouchable here. She shows this when she attempts to go to college. She drops out and moves back home soon after she gets in. This is a huge show of how she cannot function without her family, home, and safety.

The most important of these figurines of Laura's is her unicorn. Which is a perfect parallel to the symbolism of her strangeness. Laura picks the unicorn as a representation of herself, which shows that she cannot relate to anything real, pointing back to the theme of not being able to accept reality. At the end of the play, when Jim dances with Laura, then kisses her, the unicorn's horn becomes broken. Now the unicorn is just like all of the other horses. Without choice, it has been thrown into the normalcy of the world, just as Laura has. When, at the end of the play, Laura gives Jim the broken unicorn, it symbolizes her being broke, and what he has done to her. Jim took her out of her safety zone, thrust her into the real world, and shattered her, right down to the bone.

While in high school, Jim appoints Laura the nickname, "blue roses." The name "blue roses" is significant because it gives her the look of a strange appeal. Roses are known to be associated with love, lust, and relationships. The fact that Jim calls her "blue" shows the strangeness of it. Because roses are normally red, calling her "blue" goes on to prove that she is always a little off color. Jim obviously is attracted to Laura by the end of the story, from giving her nicknames, dancing, and kissing her.

Laura also uses her Victrola as an escape from reality. When she plays a record on it, the music seems to bring her into another world where she is alone with the music. She also uses the idea of music to make her mom angry. Although a small symbol, this is also very important for the story.

A symbol that goes overlooked in this play is that of the fire escape right outside of the Wingfield's home. The Wingfield home is full of frustration and angst. The idea of the fire escape is a parallel to the escape that the family deals with. Because none of them know how deal with the real world,

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