Of the three Wingfields, reality has by far the weakest grasp on Laura. Each of them avoids reality in their own way. Symbols are substitutions that are used to express a particular theme, idea, or character.
The apartment that Amanda, Laura, and Tom Wingfield share is in the middle of the city and is among many dark alleys with fire escapes. It is clear, at this point, that Laura and her glass menagerie break when they both become exposed to the outside world, represented by Jim.
In the same manner, although not very major, the use of rainbows and cigarette smoking are minor symbols in the play. He eventually stumbles and breaks the glass unicorn.
He has only left her with shattered hopes. But, in the end, he has no more motivation than Laura does to pursue professional success, romantic relationships, or even ordinary friendships, and he prefers to retreat into the fantasies provided by literature and movies and the stupor provided by drunkenness.
To convey his central theme, Williams uses symbols. It was his responsibility to support his mother, his sister, and himself with his work at the warehouse.
She prefers the comfort of her home and of her glass animals. He is thinking of the time when he will be able to escape also. Unlike his sister, Tom is capable of functioning in the real world, as we see in his holding down a job and talking to strangers.
But to Amanda, the fire escape is not only where the gentleman caller enters, but where he will come in and rescue her daughter from becoming a spinster.
Also, Tom becomes caught up in the past after he leaves home and is wandering the streets thinking about Laura. He acknowledged that there are those who wish not to participate and are not comfortable living in the outside world.
She gives him something of hers to take with him when he leaves and, in a way, he has left something with her. One symbol that is used over and over is the fire escape.
Clearly, Tom views his life with his family and at the warehouse as a kind of coffin—cramped, suffocating, and morbid—in which he is unfairly confined. Each member of the Wingfield family is unable to overcome this difficulty, and each, as a result, withdraws into a private world of illusion where he or she finds the comfort and meaning that the real world does not seem to offer.
Unfortunately, Tom left home, as did his father, and continues to be haunted by his memories of Laura. Tom and Laura do not like the dark atmosphere and their mother always tries to make it as pleasant as possible.
When Jim accidentally bumps into the unicorn and breaks it, the unicorn no longer looks unique. The Impossibility of True Escape At the beginning of Scene Four, Tom regales Laura with an account of a magic show in which the magician managed to escape from a nailed-up coffin.
The rainbows signify the hope in the future. For Tom, it is a place where he can escape to. He sees their rainbow-colored glass and remembers how his sister used to protect her glass animals.
Jim notices this and takes advantage of it by dancing with her, and, eventually, kissing her.
Actually, this search was a search for reality. Part of the innocence Laura has lost is symbolized in the breaking of the unicorn. For example, Laura is only able to live in the present very briefly.
When she does leave the apartment, she falls. She is always telling Laura and Tom about the time when she was younger and had received seventeen gentlemen callers.Video: The Glass Menagerie: Summary and Analysis Tennessee Williams' first big hit, 'The Glass Menagerie,' known as the memory play, fascinated audiences for its presentation of one man's vision.
The Glass Menagerie study guide contains a biography of Tennessee Williams, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
About The Glass Menagerie The Glass Menagerie Summary. The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams. Home / Literature / The Glass Menagerie / Analysis / Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory ; The Glass Menagerie is fragile and delicate, just as Laura. This fragility is manifested physically in the glass; as Laura says, "If you breathe, it breaks!".
Tennessee Williams’ Glass Menagerie: Summary The Glass Menagerie is a play that is very important to modern literature. Tennessee Williams describes four separate characters, their dreams, and the harsh realities they faced in the modern world. A summary of Themes in Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie.
Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of The Glass Menagerie and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. Tennessee Williams's stage directions frequently call for music to underscore key moments in a scene.
“The Glass Menagerie” theme repeats frequently throughout the play. Laura and Amanda associate music with the absent Mr. Wingfield .Download