What Is The Significance Of The Title, "The Glass Menagerie?"

1331 words - 5 pages

Why did Tennessee Williams call his play set in the 1930's, a family drama, `The Glass Menagerie'? The play has three main characters, the mother, Amanda and the two children, Tom and Laura. A gentleman caller called Jim steps into the final scenes, and the father of the family is mentioned who left them, `He was a telephone man who fell in love with long distances.' The whole play is about a family who are under pressure both from outside and within their society to live their lives the right way.

Laura, Amanda's daughter in the play is the character who has the most significance in what the play is all about she explains why William's gave the play its title. `The Glass Menagerie' is Laura's collection of glass animals and is the play's central symbol. Laura's collection of glass animal figurines represents a number of different sides to her personality. Like the figurines, Laura is delicate, dreamy and somehow old-fashioned. The message I got from the glass is that glass is transparent, but, when the light is shined upon it a rainbow of colours shines through this is mentioned as the screen images showing there is more to Laura than meets the eye. Similarly, Laura, though quiet around strangers, is lovely to those who choose to look at her in the right light. The menagerie is a dream world to Laura; a world that has colour and depth but is based on fantasy, `She is washing and polishing her collection of glass. Amanda appears...At the sound of her ascent, Laura catches her breath,...' Laura is a very fragile and innocent girl who gets nervous easily and tries to do right by her mother.

Laura explains to her mother in scene two that when she was at school she had a crush on a boy called Jim who used to call her, `Blue Roses.' Her mother tries to get her married off as she says the only way Laura is going to get a decent life is if she, `winds up married to some nice young man.' Laura reaches `quickly for a piece of glass.' She answers her mother in an emotionally and apologetic way, `I'm-crippled!' Amanda tries to then calm her down by saying the Laura's disadvantage was only slight and that Laura needs to `develop charm - and vivacity.' Laura is shut into American society trapped with her glass animals as her only escape. The breakage of her glass is as if someone has inflicted great pain on Laura, `My glass! -menagerie....'(she covers her face and turns away.)

In scene seven Laura is re-united with her old school crush Jim O'Connor, he breaks her favourite glass animal the unicorn. The reader expects Laura to get upset by her horse breaking and go and hide but instead she acts quite calmly, `It doesn't matter. Maybe it's a blessing in disguise.' Laura even turns the breakage into a joke, `The horn was removed to make him feel less- freakish!' Jim tells Laura during the evening that she is `pretty' and that she is something very special, `They're common as-weeds, but-you-well, you're-Blue roses!' Then ironically just as he...

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