Essay on Glass Menagerie Symbolism

Words: 2477
Pages: 10

In his drama, The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams uses symbolism in order to develop multi-faceted characters and to display the recurring themes of the play. These various symbols appear throughout the entire piece, and they are usually disguised as objects or imagery. They allow the reader to know the characters’ personalities, and their true inside characteristics. These symbols also add to the major themes, which develop as the play gains momentum. In the drama, symbols play the most important role. One of the most recurring symbols is the glass menagerie itself. It consists of glass animals frozen in form and it is housed at the Wingfield’s apartment. The glass menagerie has a high amount of meaning for all of …show more content…
Symbolically, the horn of the glass unicorn (Laura’s favorite piece) breaks off when Jim is exposed to it. Metaphorically, this occurs right after Jim reveals his marital situation to Laura. When Laura finds out that Jim is engaged to be married, a part of her breaks too. When Jim breaks the glass unicorn’s horn, he is unintentionally bringing Laura into the real world. This also symbolizes the breaking of Laura’s hope, which adds to the major theme of the drama (Adler 2069-2070). In high school, Laura was the unicorn in a society full of horses. Because she was shy and had a leg brace, she was considered an outcast, and overall, different. Symbolically, the unicorn’s horn breaks off just as Laura breaks out of her closed shell (Mendez 1). Originally, Laura is delicate and unique, as is the unicorn. She is different because of her disability, but internally, she is a girl who missed a couple steps while growing up. When the unicorn loses its horn and becomes like the rest of the animals in the glass menagerie, it loses its uniqueness. Likewise, when Laura gains confidence through Jim, she realizes that she is not too different from everyone else. This is a characteristic that is able to be overcome, but just needs some assistance (Ross 1). Jim brings out Laura’s inside, but then destroys it when the truth is revealed. “When this incompatible couple waltzes into the glass menagerie, they begin to destroy