Discuss 3 Symbols Used In The Play Suggesting How They Support The Theme Of Dreams & Reality

1143 words - 5 pages

The play "The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams is a play in which an essential conflict between illusions and dreams for they oppose reality. Williams uses a plethora of symbols to portray the key ideas and difference of dreams and reality especially those of the unicorn in Laura's glass menagerie; the fire-escape and the character of Jim O'Connor.The three key characters Tom, Amanda and Laura are trapped in circumstances which are beyond their control. In order to cope with their diffculties each character creates his or her own dreams and to a varying extent lives a life of illusion in order to cope. The reality is that Tom is entrapped in the family as he needed to support them, Amanda is trapped by her two children and Laura is trapped by her physical defect of being cripple. Yet, Amanda's illusions always lie with her past while Toms are related to movies and escape and for Laura her illusionary world lie with the unicorn and her glass collections.Tom is the narrator and the provider for the family where he is trapped in a situation with family obligations. He has to work in a dreaded job in a shoe warehouse to support the family. As a result, he gives up his dream of traveling or even better to be in the "merchant marines" to travel the world and taste excitement. To further bolster his dreams of illusions of the outside world offering him excitement he craves for. "going to the movies because-I like adventure. Adventure is something I don't have much of at work, so I go to the movies". In Tom's statement and Amanda's accusations "The more you shout about my selfishness to me the quicker I'll go, and I won't go to the movies" and "Go, then! Then go to the moon-you selfish dreamer!" symbolise a chance for Tom to escape his confinement to the apartment and his family.The escape from this dysfunctional family is made via the fire-escape. "I am going out for a smoke". Literally, Tom frequently steps out onto the landing to smoke, anticipating his eventual getaway from the coffin-like apartment. Symbolically, the fire-escape represents a "bridge" between the illusory world of the Wingfields and a world of reality. It is viewed as an escape route from the fires of frustration and dysfunction that rage in the Wingfield household. In a way Tom is quite nimble by being able to escape and go to the movies regularly through the fire-escape. This "bridge" seems to be a one way passage. For Tom, the fire escape is a way out of the world of the family and an entrance into the world of reality. One time when Laura walked down the fire-escape she slipped which symbolises her inability to escape her situation of being crippled. "I'm all right. I slipped, but I'm all right". "I'm-crippled" Even Laura herself accepts the reality as she knew it would be impossible to cure her physical defect. In a way, Laura is that she is not only physically crippled but emotionally defected as well.But most importantly, for it is the name of the play is Laura's glass...

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