The Importance of Symbolism in The Glass Menagerie

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The Importance of Symbolism in The Glass Menagerie Tom Wingfield is the narrator and a major character in Tennessee William’s timeless play, The Glass Menagerie. Through the eyes of Tom, the viewer gets a glance into the life of his family in the pre-war depression era; his mother, a Southern belle desperately clinging to the past; his sister, a woman too fragile to function in society; and himself, a struggling, young poet working at a warehouse to pay the bills. Williams has managed to create a momentous play using a combination of different elements, including symbolism. Three noteworthy examples of symbolism are the fire escape, a sense of hope and an escape both to the outside world and from it; the glass menagerie itself, a symbol for Laura’s fragility and uniqueness; and rainbows, symbols of unrealized hopes and aspirations. Through the use of these symbols, a greater understanding of the humanistic theme that unfulfilled hopes and desires are an unwanted, but important aspect of the real world is achieved, and The Glass Menagerie is crafted into a meaningful classic drama. Symbols are a major part of this play that Tom, who is a poet, admits he has a weakness for. One of the first to be presented in the story is the fire escape that ... ... middle of paper ... ...Masterplots, ed. Frank M. Magill. Revised Second Ed. Vol. 5. Pasadena: Salem Press, 1996. Bigsby, C. W. E. “Entering the Glass Menagerie.” The Cambridge Companion to Tennessee Williams, ed. Matthew C. Roudane. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Scheye, Thomas E. “The Glass Menagerie: ‘It’s not tragedy, Freckles.’.” Tennessee Williams: A Tribute, ed. Jac Tharpe. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1977. Williams, Tennessee. Conversations with Tennessee Williams, ed. Albert Devlin. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1986. Williams, Tennessee. The Glass Menagerie. New York: New Directions Publishing, 1945.
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