The Glass Menagerie Essay

1429 words - 6 pages

"When people have some slight disadvantage like [being crippled], the cultivate other things to make up for it..." (Amanda The Glass Menagerie) In the Glass Menagerie, each of the characters represent a characteristic of human frailty in society. Each is searching to find there place in a world that seems so out of control.Before the story even begins it presents the title, The Glass Menagerie. Glass is fragile, and easily broken. This image must play a key part in the story. Menagerie, the next key word is , "A diverse or miscellaneous group." Each of these characters then, and since we are dealing with the conditions of being human, must be a group of representatives of the frailty of humanity. Already, before the story has even begun we are presented with this.Laura, who is the main character of the story, is the owner of this "glass menagerie". She is the most literal and straight forward example of being fragile, in that she is extremely shy and skittish, and lives inside of her own small and childish world. This is what usually comes to mind when one thinks of fragile, or someone who is emotionally unstable. In scene six, after Jim asks Tom what is wrong with Laura he replies, "Oh-with Laura? Laura is-terribly shy."(481); a simple and most accurate summation of Laura personality. She is also crippled in the play. So not only is she emotionally frail, she is also physically. She depends heavily on being able to stay in her world, and is most likely to fail if she were to leave it. For instance, in scene 4, Laura slips after stepping just out the door, saying, "I'm all right. I slipped, but I'm all right."(pg 458) Here, her falling physically represents how she falls mentally and emotionally to the real world when left to go alone. The glass collection itself represents her spirit. In scene 3, page 454, Tom throws his coat against Laura's collection shelf and shatters some the figurines, much to her dismay, for she exclaims, "[shrilly]. My glass!-menagerie....[She covers her face and turns away]. How easily her spirit can be broken by the actions of those around her. She cannot even face what has happened but must turn away and shut herself off from it. She represents the most obvious aspect of human frailty, when we allow ourselves to be broken and become so dependent on the familiar things that surround us that we can no longer stand on our own and have trouble realizing our own self worth. It makes us become susceptible to the hurt and anguish when these things that hold us together cannot always work out and we shut ourselves away rather than try and face the real world, and like Laura, retreat back to our own worlds.Tom's frailty is different. At first glance, one might see a young man just wanting to run away to fulfill a childish dream and not be responsible, but there is a much deeper level to Tom. He may be just as frail as Laura in some aspects. Tom allows himself to open up to his mother in scene 4 saying,"You say there's so much...

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