The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

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Symbolism in literature is the use of objects to reflect concepts and qualities by imbuing them with a symbolic meaning that differs from their literal meaning. Symbolism may use an entity to reflect something completely different in a more profound and meaningful manner. Actions, events, and spoken words may also have symbolic meaning. Tennessee Williams’ play The Glass Menagerie makes extensive use of symbols in the depiction of various objects, including strengthening individual themes. Williams was aware of the realism-filled society in which he lived, but he was untouched by it (K.J 234). Williams saw that it was possible to make the realism flexible by adopting symbolism. For him to depict the reality, there was dire need to apply symbolism. Most of the symbolism used by Tennessee Williams in the Glass Menagerie is connected to the central themes.
Williams uses the symbol of a fire escape in his work, the Glass Menagerie. The symbol is a representation of the bridge between the Wingfield and Illusory worlds. The bridge is an indication of the fact that there is only one way which is the bridge between the two worlds. For Tom, the fire escape is a representation of the only way he can come out of the worlds of Amanda and Laura and the entrance to the world of reality. In the case of Laura, the fire escape is the only way into the world she discerns, her world. In any case, the two are trying to escape from the real world which is the reality (K.J 34). As Tom stands outside the fire escape to smoke, it a symbol of the fact that he does not want to be part of the illusionary world. Laura sees the fire escape as a way in not out as many might think. This is evident when, Amanda sends Laura to go to the store, she slides in the fire escapes (Kollin 90). This is a symbolism of the fact that Laura is greatly affected by her emotions and his fears as far as her physical condition kids concerned. The symbolism of the events depicting the comparison and contrast of the different worlds through the actions of various characters are important as far as the theme of the difficulty to accept reality is concerned. Tom wants to move out of his world to a new world. He is trying to run away from reality to an illusionary world that does not exist. The same case Laura does not want to admit reality in the world she is living. She sees the bridges which are the fire escape as a way to her world which does not exist, therefore bringing out the theme of Difficulty to accept reality.
The behavior portrayed by Tom, for Instance, leaving the Apartment and going for movies is another symbolism of how dedicated he is to escape from reality. Amanda has kept Tom from reality; she criticizes him for being a Selfish dreamer. Amanda is a symbol of hindrances which prevent one from escaping from an individual situation (Kollin 60). Through this symbolism, the author enhances the theme of the impossibility of real escape. Tom is enslaved by Amanda in an Unreal world, too busy to see the reality despite the fact that he tries to get himself into reality. The author, Williams may have used this symbolism to enhance the themes of Difficulty to accept reality and Impossibility of pure escape.
Another symbol employed by William, is the title itself, The Glass Menagerie. It represents the defecting inferiority by Laura. The menagerie is a symbol of which Laura changes her defects to a more creative directive. Laura deflects her inferiorities into more to delicate creativity. Glass Menagerie represents isolation. The glass menagerie is also a symbol of the reality of illusion which Laura sees as pleasing. The symbol of glass menagerie has been used to enhance the theme of escapism. Despite the fact that Laura uses the menagerie to overt from the actual world, to an illusionary world, which she thinks is pleasing, in the real sense, there is no way one can escape, but Laura is rather in Imaginations (K.J 254). There is no way to escape from the real world. This symbolism, therefore, enhances the theme of escapism, the impossibility to escape from reality.
Another symbol applied by Williams in his play, The Glass Menagerie is the use of Unicorn. Laura is manufacturing a Unicorn from her glass menagerie. The Unicorn is a rare thing to find on earth. It has a single horn. This is a representation of the fact that Laura’s life in the real world is extinct (Kollin 112). The extinction of the unicorn is a symbol of how Laura’s is gone in the reality. The Unicorn breaks on falling the hands of Jim. Being a representation of the life of Laura, it is a symbol of how the belief of Laura of her Imaginary can be easily broken. The logo depicts the fact that despite the difficulty Laura experiences to accept the reality, she can do nothing to change it. The symbol enhances the theme of realism, how it ‘s hard to accept reality.
Jim O’Connor is also a symbolism used by the author. Unlike other characters, who struggle to live in the worlds of Illusion, Jim lives in a world of realism. He is used to showing the importance of thinking, acting and living in authenticity. The character, Jim O’Connor is used as a symbol of realism (K.J 223). He is used to enhancing the theme of reality in the play, unlike other characters who struggle to escape reality.

Annotated Bibliography
Kollin, Phillip. Tennessee Williams: A Guide to Research and Performance. Ad ed., Greenwood, 1998.
Phillip Kollin discusses the work of Tennessee Williams the Glass Menagerie in his book A Guide to Research and performance. The writer Considers Tennessee Williams as one of the greatest American Playwrights. Among the other significant works by are two collections of poetry, novels, and Score of essays. The book reviews his work through research summarizing the operates in a critical approach. The book looks at the themes, Symbols and other literary styles applied in different works.
K, J. Literature – Reading, Fiction, Poetry & Drama 6th Edition. 6th ed., McGraw-Hill, 2007.
The book being a collection of anthology introduces the study of fiction poetry and drama. It introduces one to the literature features. The Book presents precisely the elements of literature through the use of Classical, Modern and contemporary works. It analysis prominent writers who have been known for their great literature works. It covers a great depth of many kinds of literature works written over the years. Among the great works featured I the book is the work of William Tennessee, The Glass Menageries in which the various literature feature are discussed including Themes, Symbolism, Motifs and other critical documentation features.

Works Cited
K, J. Literature – Reading, Fiction, Poetry & Drama 6th Edition. 6th ed., McGraw-Hill, 2007.
Kollin, Phillip. Tennessee Williams: A Guide to Research and Performance. Ad ed., Greenwood, 1998.

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