Symbols of The Glass Menagerie

Question: Discuss the symbols of The Glass Menagerie.


For being a memory play, symbolism works as a part and parcel of “The Glass Menagerie”. Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) uses a number of symbols in this drama. Those symbols mirror many different things. The playwright injects a large variety of symbolism to show the emotional, physical, and social state of each of the characters.

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Title of the play

As the title of the play tells us, the glass menagerie, or collection of doll-creatures, is the play’s focal image. Laura’s assortment of glass creature puppets speaks to various aspects of her character. Like the dolls, Laura is sensitive, whimsical, and some way or another old-fashioned. The zoological display additionally speaks to the imaginative world to which Laura gives herself- a world that is beautiful and tempting yet dependent on delicate illusions.

The Glass Unicorn

The glass unicorn in Laura’s assortment—essentially, her favorite figure—speaks to her peculiarity. As Jim calls attention to, unicorns are “extinct” on current occasions and are lonesome because of being unique in relation to different horses. Laura too is uncommon, desolate, and poorly adjusted to the presence in the world in which she lives. The destiny of the unicorn is additionally a smaller-scale version of Laura’s destiny in Scene Seven.

Fire Escape

Tom often stands on the apartment’s fire escape, a literal and figurative temporary release from the chaos of his everyday life. Tom smokes on the fire escape, keeping away himself from the figurative homegrown fire by lighting his own fire, which likewise represents his longing to control his fate instead of being devoured by his family and his set of past experiences. His frequent escape to the fire escape anticipates his possible takeoff from the apartment.

Blue Roses

‘Blue Roses’ is the nickname of Laura given by Jim. The name “Blue Roses” transforms Laura’s deformity into a benefit: her unusual, powerful characteristics are viewed as extraordinary instead of weakening. Laura is firmly based on Tennessee Williams’ sister, Rose, who went through a lobotomy while Williams was composing the play, and the nickname is likewise in recognition for her.


Tennessee Williams’ stage headings often call for music to underscore key actions in a scene. Laura and Amanda partner music with the absence of Mr. Wingfield, who left the family many years ago. The Victrola player gives Laura a hear-able escape and differentiations with the rattling sound of the typewriter, which helps her to remember her failure to endeavor to go to Business College. Laura additionally connects music with Jim, whom she met in the school ensemble; Jim, we are told, has a wonderful voice.


Tom escapes to the movies almost every night. However the films can just give temporary happiness, Tom goes to the film to carry on with substitute lives, yet he should consistently re-visitation his own. “The movies” themselves are additionally a symbol inside the play: sometimes Tom goes to the film, however once in a while he utters “going to the movies” as a euphemism for drinking, an alternate kind of break. The movies likewise give an analysis of the idea of theater itself: similarly, as the audience is getting away from reality by watching a play, Tom gets away from the truth of his play by viewing a dramatic exhibition.


For Laura, the typewriter represents the limits of the business world that she escapes by walking in the park or submerging herself in her glass menagerie. For Amanda, the typewriter comes to mean both Laura’s inability to complete her business course just as Tom’s inability to submit himself all the more completely to his warehouse job. For Tom, however, the typewriter reveals it as a way to get out from the bounds of his reality, as he utilizes it to create his compositions.

Jim O’Connor

The most practical and reasonable character Jim O’Connor is himself a symbolic character. He has been held as a messenger of an outside world. Generally, Jim is realistic. In contrast with different characters, he is somewhat safe from the threat of hallucination.


There are some more symbols in this play. Such as- Paradise Dance Hall symbolizes fake heaven, rainbow-colored scarf symbolically represents imaginary colorful life, and gentleman caller stands for juice youth.

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To conclude, we can say that Williams rightfully uses a number of different kinds of symbols in his play “The Glass Menagerie”. Actually, he uses such a variety of symbols to show his complex ideas indirectly.

S Ridoy Kumar
S Ridoy Kumar
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