Discuss Tennessee Williams' Use of Symbolism in

Topics: The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams, Symbol Pages: 3 (887 words) Published: October 29, 2007
Discuss Tennessee Williams' use of symbolism in "The Glass Menagerie"

Tennessee Williams' memory play "The Glass Menagerie describes three separate characters, their dreams and the realities they face in a changing world. The play is set in an apartment in st Louis during the American depression. The Glass Menagerie exposes the lost dreams of a southern family and their desperate struggle to escape reality. The play "The glass menagerie" itself is a symbol Williams uses to represent the broken lives of Amanda, Laura and Tom Wingfield. Williams' use of symbols adds depth to the play.

The Glass Menagerie symbolizes Amanda Wingfield's need to cling to her past and her fear of being alone once her children have chosen a path for their lives. Amanda resents the poor neighbourhood in which she lives so much that she needs to mentally escape from it by making illusions of the past and self-deception. Abandoned by her husband, Amanda comforts herself with recollections of her once glorious past in Blue Mountain.

Tom Wingfield has a dual role in The Glass Menagerie. The first Tom is the narrator, who introduces his second self, the character. In his fifth soliloquy, Tom the narrator indicates That time has pulled him away from the drama, "for time is the greatest distance between two places". In the closing soliloquy Tom recounts how he lives and re-lives the story in his memory. Like his father "A man who fell in love with long distances", Tom has fallen in love with long distances.

In scene two, Amanda finds that Laura has dropped out of Business College. Amanda is furious about the money they have wasted but cannot understand how shy and unconfident Laura feels, "You did this all to deceive me, just for deception?" this suggests Amanda thinks Laura made an effort to purposely deceive her. "Mother, when you're disappointed, you get that awful look on your face" this indicates that Laura cannot even handle a harsh look from her mother and its as if she...
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