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Symbols in The Glass Menagerie
Transcript of Symbols in The Glass Menagerie
"No, it's in the yearbook."
Amanda wears an old girlish yellow dress which does not match to her.
The old dress symbolizes her desire to escape the reality, and goes back to the past.
The yearbook symbolizes Laura's imaginary world where she really lives in not the reality.
Laura has been confined in her unrealistic world since she liked Jim.
She refuses to meet Jim when he comes over for a visit.
Clothes from the past
Scene 6 "Now just look at your mother! This is the dress in which I led the cotillion."
When Laura goes to buy butter, she wears a coat which does not fit Laura.
The coat is one of Amanda’s from the past. The tightness of the coat represents the pressure
Amanda talks about jonquils when she refers back to her past.
The flowers represent her reminiscences of the past and signifies what Amanda wants from Laura to grow as her past image and not Laura her true self.
Tennessee Williams used various symbols to reveal the attributes of the characters. Each character has its own symbols related to their own characteristics, which indirectly explains to the audience the situation where each character is involved.
In the play, Laura's characteristics
becomes known to the audience
by the representation of her symbols.
The phonograph once belonged to Mr. Wingfield, which helped Laura try to escape her reality by playing the old phonograph records that she had left.
The phonograph represented the music in the play.
Laura also associates the music with Jim, whom she met through her old high school choir, and she talks about his 'beautiful voice.'
Scene 5: "She lives in a world of her own-a world of-little glass ornaments..."
The fragile menagerie symbolizes Laura herself because she is both beautiful and fragile, like her glass pieces, Laura "shines" when the light of love or attention is upon her.
The glass collection also symbolizes escape. Before Jim's arrival, Laura tried to lose herself in her glass and escape from the realities of her own life and her own circumstances that she eventually has to face.
Scene 1: "Dear, you go in front and study your typewriter chart. Or practice your shorthand a little. Stay fresh and pretty!
For Amanda, the typewriter shows Laura's failure to finish her business school.
For Laura the typewriter symbolizes the business world that she escapes from by walking in the park or immersing herself in the glass menagerie.
It also signifies Tom's failure to commit himself more fully to his warehouse job.
The characters' desire to escape, appears
to the audience by symbols in the play.
Scene 1 (Stage Directions): "A blown-up photograph of the father hangs on the wall of the living room, to the left of the archway. It is the face of a very handsome young man in a dough boy's First World War cap. He is gallantly smiling, ineluctably smiling, as if to say 'I will be smiling forever."
The most important picture in the play
is the picture of Mr. Wingfield. It is the
only visual in the play and hangs in the
It is the only sign of reality in the play,
because it shows the reality of the abandonment of the father, but ironically, he is there during the entire play.
The picture foreshadows how Tom is eventually going to abandon his family just like his father did.
At the beginning of Scene Four, Tom returns home drunk and talks to Laura about how a magician he saw that night managed to escape a nailed coffin.
Scene 4: "But the wonderfullest trick of
all was the coffin trick. We nailed him into a coffin and he got out of the coffin without removing one nail."
The symbol of the coffin shows that Tom is suffocating in the life that he has, and is being tortured by Amanda, and is suffering at his job at the warehouse as well.
Tom feels he is unfairly trapped by his situation.
This scene foreshadows how Tom is unfairly trapped by his situation.
The Fire Escape
Scene 1: "The apartment faces an alley and is entered by a fire escape, a structure whose name is a touch of accidental poetic truth, for all of these huge buildings are always burning with the slow and implacable fires of human desperation."
Accidental poetic truth means that Tom actually wants to escape. This is why Tom spends so much time on the fire escape smoking. He sometimes even uses the fire escape to leave the apartment.
When Laura goes out onto the fire escape, she stumbles and this shows how she cannot leave, and is trapped with her mother.
Jim is a character in the play who guides Laura
every step of the way into
the real world.
Laura lives her life as if her life is an illusion,
whereas Jim tried to show her the path to success for herself.
By: Issa, Aaron, Christian, and Farzad
Scene 2:"When I had that attack of pleurosis-he
asked me what was the matter when I came back, I
said pleurosis. He had thought I said 'Blue Roses'
So that's what he always called me after that.
Whenever he saw me, he'd holler, 'Hello, Blue Roses!"
'Blue Roses' was a friendly nickname that Jim bestowed on Laura while they were in high school.
The nickname represents her delicate beauty.
Blue Roses is a very difficult flower to try and find which represents to Laura that Jim recognizes her as someone special.
This nickname shows that Jim recognized as a person unique from others.
Scene 7: "Most of them are animals made out of glass, the tiniest little animals in the world./He is my favorite one. A unicorn, huh? -aren't they extinct in the modern world?
The unicorn is Laura's favorite glass piece which briefly symbolizes her character, because the unicorn is different from other horses which represents that Laura is different from others.
As Jim danced with Laura the unicorn broke which meant that Laura was becoming a 'normal person' of their society.
Afterward, Laura gave Jim her unicorn as a souvenir. which in this case it represents all the important things that Jim has destroyed from Laura.
The pirate ship is a symbol of foreshadowing because it symbolizes that Tom would be leaving soon.
Tom was to work so that he could help support his mother and his disabled sister.
The pirate ship with the Jolly Roger (skull and crossbones) on the flag is symbolic for Tom's desire for escape and adventure.
Scene 5: "Mother... She plays an old phonograph record and - that's about all."
The symbols related to characters’ past or imaginary world
describe their isolation from the reality.
"He gave you his picture?"
Scene 4 "The coat is one of Amanda's, inaccurately made-over, the sleeves too short for Laura."
Scene 6 "So lovely, that country in May all lacy with dogwood, literally flooded with jonquils!"
Scene 4: Man is by instinct a lover, a hunter, a fighter, and none of those instincts are given much play at the warehouse!"