The Glass Menagerie

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Williams uses the glass unicorn to guide the reader closer to the theme of the book. The glass unicorn and Laura’s collection are alluded to early on in the play when Tom is going to leave but his jacket gets stuck and hits the shelf containing the glass menagerie collection, “With an outraged groan he tears the coat off again, splitting the shoulder of it, and hurls it across the room. It strikes against the shelf of Laura’s glass collection, and there is a tinkle of shattering glass. Laura cries out as if wounded” (Williams 24). The breaking of the glass represents Laura’s feelings. Even though she has nothing to say during the scene, Williams still focuses on her during moments like this. It is Laura who is hurting the most. Inside she must sense that she is the root of most of the arguing between Amanda and Tom and that she is also an added burden on Tom. The glass unicorn symbolizes how Laura is delicate just like her glass unicorn. This unfortunate accident shows how delicate Laura’s glass collection is as well as Laura herself. When Jim O’ Connor comes over for dinner, Laura’s problems begin to fade away. During this scene you can see Laura’s insecurities and “problems’’ fade away and you see that she can function with others. While Jim and Laura are dancing Jim accidently bumps into the table where he sat her glass unicorn, “They suddenly bump into the table, and the glass piece on it falls to the floor. Jim stops the dance” (Williams 85). The glass unicorn falls and the unicorn losses its horn. Laura doesn’t seem to care and she even says it could be a good thing, “Now he will feel at home with the other horses, the ones that don’t have horns….” (Williams 86). Jim gives us our first look of Laura as a human she comes alive as an individual. When Laura says, “… make him feel less – freakish!” (Williams 86) She also doesn’t feel as “freakish’’ and now she feels more normal. This is what Tom needs as reassurance that Laura will be okay...
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