Symbols Within the Glass Menegerie

Topics: Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie, Samuel Beckett Pages: 3 (1194 words) Published: September 4, 2012
The Glass Menagerie Essay
With the exception of a few select books, almost all books have symbols that represent greater ideas, concepts, or lessons. Symbols are a discreet way for an author to share these things with out saying them blatantly to the readers face. They can be objects that represent the author’s life. They can be people that represent more than just a person but an idea. The Glass Menagerie has many symbols including fire escapes, a glass menagerie, and Jim, the gentleman caller. These symbols show hidden meanings and reveal a hidden message in which Tennessee Williams is trying to explain to the reader.

Fire escapes are a very important symbol in the play. Shown through invisible walls on the set, the audience can see and the reader, envision the metal structures behind the building where the Wingfield family resides. The fire escapes represent a chance to leave for, to escape from his crazy life, but also how complicated and detailed the escape and be. “The apartment faces an alley and is entered by a fire escape, a structure whose name is a touch of accidental truth, for all of those huge buildings are always burning with the slow and implacable fires of human desperation” (9) this quote is a sort of “heads up” to the reader that the fire escapes are much more than they appear. is shown on the fire escapes multiple times, usually after having a fight with his controlling mother, often contemplating what it would be to leave for ever, yet how difficult and challenging it would be as well. This is why fire escapes are such a significant symbol in the play.

Laura’s collection of glass animals is also a major symbol in the play. Laura Wingfield keeps a collection of tiny glass animals that she cares for as if they were her pets. She takes care of this glass menagerie, (which the play is named after) frequently, polishing them, rearranging them, and playing with them on a regular basis. But this tiny glass animal collection is more than just...
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