“The Glass Menagerie”
a. Thesis statement- Playwright Williams uses symbolism throughout “The Glass
Menagerie” to illustrate the struggle for happiness that each character faces.
a. The Glass Menagerie
c. The Unicorn
The purpose of this paper is to introduce and analyze the play “The Glass Menagerie” by
Tennessee Williams. Specifically it will discuss the symbolism and imagery in this play. “The
Glass Menagerie” is a tragic story of the Wingfield family, a dysfunctional family of dreamers
who never seem to actually achieve their dreams. Amanda, the mother, is domineering and lives
in the past, Laura, the fragile daughter is disabled and cannot face reality, and Tom, the son, is
dissatisfied with his life, his family and his future. Together, the family is dysfunctional and
dissatisfied, and each one attempts to escape reality in some way, which is one of the richest
symbols in the play. Playwright Williams uses symbolism throughout “The Glass Menagerie” to
illustrate the struggle for happiness that each character faces.
“The Glass Menagerie” itself is an element of symbolism in the play, and a very
important element. One literary critic notes, “The central image in this play, from which the
work takes its name, is Laura’s glass menagerie. Within the play, it allows us to see the
childlike fixation on a private world of make-believe animals and delicacy of this isolated girl”
(Tischler 33). The menagerie really symbolizes Laura herself, and the many facets of the glass
animals represent the many facets of her own personality. In addition, the creatures are fragile
and whimsical at the same time, and the entire idea of the collection, and Laura’s fascination (or
obsession) with it seems old-fashioned and outmoded... [continues]
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