There are some very noticeable symbols that have been analyzed many times since study has begun on "The Glass Menagerie." The first is the actual glass menagerie that represents the fragility of the Wingfield's dreamlike existence. The second is the fire escape, which reflects each character's tendency to escape from reality in their own ways. The third is the yellow dress, which represents youth and the past. The gentleman caller,
Jim O'Connor, represents change and also hopes for the future, as well as a reflection of Amanda's past. Tom also has his own symbols of escape. He uses his poetry and the movies to run from his problems at home.
Literary symbols can be both universal and conventional symbols that derive additional meanings through their use in a particular work." (Kirszner and Mandell pg. 245)
The actual animal collection, or glass menagerie, symbolizes each character and the story. Like the glass animals, the character's realities are very fragile and in danger of being shattered. It is also as though the characters are stuck in glass, unable to move or change, also like the glass animals. They are inanimate, as the characters have learned to be to hide and escape from the pain that life has given them. Laura... [continues]
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