The Glass Menagerie showed symbolism from the very beginning to add more profoundness to the play. Using numerous symbols that demonstrates within the whole play that is either realistic or nonrealistic. Tennessee Williams displays a drama by a family with many struggles of everyday life. Throughout the story, the author applies much needed symbolism for a deeper meaning of important objects, people and places. This play includes symbolism which has dual meaning that the character relates to and I will be writing about the ones that most stand out the unicorn, the fire escape, and the blue roses. The unicorn which is not really a real unicorn but made of glass and Laura believes it shares some of the same qualities as her. From the way she is different from everyone that is around her.
Laura has a breakable spirit just like the glass unicorn can easily break into pieces; so can her feelings which are very fragile. Laura says the glass is easy to break ‘…if you breathe, it breaks!’ (121) The unicorn is a symbol for Laura because they are similar to each other for example breakable, bizarre, and odd but beautiful all at the same. When Laura and Jim had a dance together he saw the things in her that other people did not but he accidentally knocked over the unicorn in their romatic moment and that was the only thing in the world that she could relate to and it was no more. Although the horn broke off Laura said, “just like all the other horses” (Williams 1221), it symbolizes that Jim is Laura unicorn that is making her feel like she is a regular people in the world. The broken unicorn symbolizes the change that underwent in Laura after being fasely loved becasue she found out that he is engaged she knows now that she can stand alone just like the unicorn does.
Gifting him the Unicorn symbolizes Laura’s aching heart that will stay with him because she gave him something to remember her by the former glass unicorn which is now a horse. Tom starts off saying, ‘I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion.’; which can mean I will tell you what I think you want to hear. His character mostly represents the fire escape out of all the other characters. He uses the fire escape for an liberation of his life that he feels so depressed about because he wishes for a better life. Tom is the sole provider for his family but he works so hard for everyone around him and not benefiting his self. In the real world he put shoes together but on the fire escape he can imagine anything or go anywhere to add some fulfillment to his sad existence. Tom’s mother, Amanda, proclaims, ‘You live in a dream; you manufacture illusions! Where are you going?’ (1999) to which Tom answers, ‘I’m going to the movies’ (1999). He also got away from his world by going to the movies and live the life of the people he sees on the big screen instead of having bad energy.
Although in The Glass Menagerie, the fire escape interprets some kind of getaway for all of the characters as not only as an actual way out of the apartment. The Blue Roses is a symbolic expression used to show Laura’s character because blue roses are commonly not blue which makes them very different and exceptional just like Laura. It was Jim’s high school nickname for Laura. They represent the unreachable because of their rareness just like Laura because she had a physical deformity that made her feeble. Laura says, “When I had that attack of pleurosis-he asked what was the matter when I came back. I said pleurosis-he thought I said Blue Roses!” (289). Tennessee Williams’s roughly based the character Laura on his sister, Rose, who underwent a lobotomy while Williams was writing the play and the nickname was for a dedication to her. The Blue Rose and the Unicorn both symbolize Laura and do not occur in nature which is special like she is. The symbolism in the play “The Glass Menagerie” made the story give the story a more understandable and more compelling approach. It allowed this dramatization to have a colorful view with an entertaining outlook for the readers to take in. Tenessee Williams utility a vast amount of symbolic side of his characters in the play. It is very clear that this play is a memory which is based on Williams’ own memories that’s why he has deep meaning for all the characters. Metaphors are often needed in dramas or plays because it makes us relate to what’s really going.
The symbols in The Glass Menagerie play was not as noticeable until you read the play the second time around. Once you get a clearer look you can begin to decipher the meaning of the play. The author displays the identity of individuals that has double significant to demonstrate a blend of detailed symbolism such as a symbol of unusualness and delicacy for Laura’s the Unicorn and nickname Blue Rose and a symbol of freedom and anticipation of the future for Tom the fire escape. Williams uses many symbols that characterize the story by applying reality and nonreality defenses that they depend on.