Symbols and Symbolism in Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie Essay

Symbols and Symbolism in Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie Essay

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Symbols and Symbolism in Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie

 
The Glass Menagerie illustrates how Tennessee Williams incorporates symbols to help express the central theme of the play. One of the recurring symbols, apparent throughout the play, is that of the "glass menagerie" - symbolic of Laura herself. Another symbol for Laura is the glass unicorn. Still another symbol is that of the picture of the father - symbolic of freedom. These symbols play an important part in the development of the plot, as well as the theme of the play.

The glass figurines that reside in Laura's menagerie are symbolic of Laura herself. Laura is "like a piece of her own glass collection, too exquisitely fragile to move from the shelf" (849). Because of a slight defect, magnified several times over by her own mind, Laura's self image is as fragile as her collection. Because of her low self image, she is extremely withdrawn, even to the point of avoiding contact with others as much as is possible. Laura escapes "to the world of her menagerie where she is safe from the world of people" (Kahn 74)...

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