Symbolism Essay

764 words - 4 pages

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams is a classic example of a story with its themes being expressed in the form of a heavy symbolism influence. Each member of the Wingfield family, including Amanda, Laura and Tom, has their individual internal and emotional struggles. These problems are represented with symbols that are strongly emphasized throughout the story as they relate to the family. It is apparent that Tom and Laura’s symbols are some of the most important. These symbols include the fire escape, the nickname “Blue Roses” given to Laura, and the unicorn figurine in Laura’s glass menagerie.
A particularly strong theme in The Glass Menagerie is not being able to accept unfortunate reality or escape it. This theme is shown with the symbols of the movies and the fire escape which connect to Tom. Tom, who aspires to be a poet, is unhappy with his dull, suffocating life and his job at a warehouse in order to maintain the family. He longs for adventure and excitement in his life, yet he is constantly frustrated and argues with his mother frequently. In order to escape this, he turns to alcohol, dancing, and most significantly, the movies. Any time Tom becomes agitated and angry, he immediately leaves his home to go to the movies and often does not return for many hours. Along with this, Tom also flees to the fire escape usually to smoke. The fire escape is a symbol that represents what the name suggests. The fire is the hectic Wingfield Household, and Tom is trying to escape it. As the story progresses, Tom gets closer to finally escaping, except he never manages to escape the memory of his older sister, Laura.
Laura is not only crippled physically, but emotionally as well with her seemingly introverted personality. It explains Tom’s strong protectiveness and caring over her. Despite Laura’s flaws, she is depicted to be a very unique person. This garners her Jim’s old nickname for her: “Blue Roses.” This name represents a very rare side of Laura that only emerges when she is with Jim. It’s a quiet strength and confidence that her mother and brother have not come to experience. The roses are a rare “one of a kind” flower that...

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