Free Glass Menagerie Essays: Characters and Symbols

Free Glass Menagerie Essays: Characters and Symbols

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Characters and Symbols in The Glass Menagerie


In The Glass Menagerie, the main characters are Laura, Amanda, Tom, Jim, and Father.  Each character can be found with symbols that best represent them.  Laura 's two symbols are Blue Roses and her glass menagerie, Unicorn.  Amanda 's  yellow dress and bathrobe can express her love she has of the past event.  Tom 's symbols are the movies and merchant marine.  Jim's symbolize itself as a gentlemen caller for Laura.  The Father 's portrait portrays his abandonment of the Wingfield family.

            Laura is a hypersensitive young girl.  She spends all of her time in a world of glass ornaments and stayed in her apartment.  Even though she tries several times to participate in the outside world, she is too fragile.  The Blue Roses represent the uniqueness of Laura.  Blue Roses do not exist in this world or even if there is, it is not by nature.  This rose is different from other roses just as Laura is different from other girls. 

The color blue represents the sadness and depression.  Laura felt these feelings at home because she is not as popular as Amanda and she cannot succeed in college that Amanda hopes her to be.  Amanda's expectation caused Laura to feel bad when she does not meet her requirements.  Laura had dropped out of Rubicam Business College and she can not find any gentleman caller.  Roses represent Laura along with her beauty and innocence.  The stem of the rose can define as the support that Amanda and Tom gave her. The thorn is her shyness.  It is her shyness that no one wants to go near her and she does not want to go near anyone. 

The Glass Menagerie represents Laura' hypersensitive nature and fragility.  Laura is just as easily broken as a glass unicorn and just as unique.  When Jim accidentally bumps into the unicorn and breaks it, the unicorn is no longer unique.  When Jim kisses Laura and then shatters her hopes by telling her he is engaged, she becomes broken-hearted and less unique.  The innocence that made Laura so unique is now lost.  Both Laura and the glass menagerie break when they are exposed to the outside world.  When Laura gives Jim her broken unicorn, it symbolizes her broken heart that Jim will take with him when he leaves.  She gives Jim a little bit of herself to take with him and he leaves behind a little bit of himself with her shattered horses.

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            Amanda is a middle-aged southern woman whose husband had abandoned her.   She spends her time reminiscing about her seventeen gentlemen callers and nagging at Tom and Laura.  She is completely depending on Tom for financial business of the family and a responsibility for Laura's future.  Amanda dreams back to the time when she was a young girl wearing yellow dress.  Those certainly were better days. 

The past was a wonderful experience for her compare to the reality which she a now an abandoned wife with two children.  Mr. Wingfield was cruel to leave the family but Amanda still loves him.  She wears his bathrobe and often looks at the portrait of her husband.  She can not put the past behind her.   Amanda is obsessed with her past as she constantly reminds Tom and Laura of that one Sunday afternoon in Blue Mountain. " When Jim arrives, Amanda is dressed in the same girlish frock she wore on the day that she met her husband.  She regresses to her childish days of entertaining the gentleman callers.  She chooses to live in the past.  Moreover, she hoped that the gentleman caller is not handsome because Mr. Wingfield is handsome and he wins her heart in a second.  She does not want Tom to be a drunkard, have manner in eating, and stop smoking.  She wished her children luck, happiness, and success in the future but irony, she rather live in a life of illusion and recall all of her past experience.

            Tom Wingfield loves to go to the movies.  But Amanda does not believe that his evenings are so innocent.  She does not understand that Tom wants adventure.  Since his life is full of responsibility: money, future of Laura, boring job.  He wanted more in his life than just a worker in a shoe factory.  Tom is very much like Mr. Wingfield because they left home to search for their wish in life.  The pressure, stress, and madness that Amanda and the shoe factory caused him to runaway.  Tom 's nickname, Shakespeare, is also another symbol.  William Shakespeare wrote many plays such as Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, and Macbeth.  The plots of this play have a lot of action.  Tom tries to have adventure through writing poems. 

            Jim O' Connor is a gentleman caller that Tom brought home.  He worked in a shoe warehouse but he wanted more in life.  He is the only outside connection for Laura and Amanda.  Even though he finds Laura unique and special, he is engaged to a woman named Betty.  The classes he took in night school are a symbol for a better future.  He is not satisfied with working in a shoe warehouse.  He was a hero in his high school and he did not turn out to be great in anything in life.  The character Jim is a symbol itself.  He enters the lives of the Wingfield.  He helped Laura to be more open and confident in life.  Jim helps her to bring back into reality. 

            Mr. Wingfield is a not a responsible parent.  He left his wife and kids with a simple, "Hello and goodbye."  Amanda fell into the trap of her husband because of his charm.  He never appeared in the play but his character played a significance role in the lives of Amanda, Laura, and Tom.  His portrait is constant reminder of happiness in the past.  Amanda cannot forget him because he gave her the best of time.  His smile still captures her heart.  Like father, like son.  Tom left the family but he can not forget about Laura.

The fire escape can also relate to Tom, Amanda, and Laura.  For Tom, this fire escape provides an escape for Tom from his cramped apartment and nagging mother.  So this is a pathway to the outside world.  For Amanda, it allows Jim to come into the apartment and prevent Laura from becoming an old maid.  The significance for Laura is that it is her door to the inside world in which she can hide.  One part in the play, Laura felt in fire escape, this symbolizes Laura' s inability to work properly in the outside world.
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