The Glass Unicorn's Symbolism by Tennesse Williams Essay

The Glass Unicorn's Symbolism by Tennesse Williams Essay

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The Glass Menagerie is a modern American play written by Tennessee Williams in 1944. The Glass Menagerie entails the genre of tragedy and family drama in the aftermath of The Great Depression. The play is based off of the narrator and protagonist, Tom Wingfield’s, memory. Williams uses several symbols throughout the play, but he focuses mainly on the title of the play as the most important symbol throughout. As the title of the play tells us, glass menagerie are collections of glass animals. Laura Wingfeild, Tom’s sister in the play, is the collector of these little glass animals. Laura is a very peculiar person who struggles both physically and emotionally. She collects them as her own way of coping with her physical disability and emotions. One glass animal of her collection in particular that the author, Williams’s, uses to symbolize and compare her to the most, is the unicorn. The unicorn symbolizes loneliness and uncommonness, directly meant to represent Laura. Most importantly the unicorn represents a very strong connection and similarity of Laura and how she is perceived.
In scenes one and two, we get an image of Laura’s personality is before the unicorn is mentioned. Laura’s mother, Amanda Wingfield, wants nothing more, but for Laura to get a business degree so there will be a future for them. Rather than finish, she quits to focus on her glass collection. Instead of inspiring Laura to do what she cares for, her mother selfishly explains that collecting glass is not a future and she has seen what being dependent can do to oneself. The author shows how unusual and lonely Laura can be in scene one, in comparison to how unusual and lonely the unicorn is. To illustrate this, Amanda tells Laura to “stay fresh and pretty!-It’s ...


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...he gentleman caller and her old high school crush. As they talk about each other Laura introduces Jim to her glass collection and lets him hold her unicorn of all animals. She tells him, “if you breathe, it breaks” (1692)! This statement symbolizes Laura and how sensitive she is and if not careful she will fall apart. Jim eventually does break the unicorn, which is another symbolization of Laura. She is like the broken horn of the unicorn, because Jim leads her own to eventually destroy from ever believing there is hope of finding a lifelong partner. Tennessee William’s uses this symbolization of the broken unicorn horn in particular, to represent Laura and how fragile she can be. Once she is broken she falls apart and loses all hopefulness. Therefore, the unicorn represents Laura for exactly how she is and helps those reading better understand the importance of it.

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