The Glass Menagerie Symbolism

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There are many times when certain symbols or representations can help to support a central idea or theme. In The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams utilizes symbolism to help convey a central theme. There is no such thing as freedom without a terrible cost. First of all, the unicorn among Laura’s glass menagerie collection represents her individuality. Jim also talks about how the unicorn must “feel sort of lonesome” and like an outcast (Williams 97). Because of its horn, the unicorn differs from other horses in Laura’s menagerie collection.

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In the same way, Laura differs from all of the other girls around her and feels out of place. Later on, Jim accidentally knocks over the glass unicorn and causes the horn to break off, and Laura comments about how “the horn was removed to make him feel less – freakish” and now the unicorn could finally be normal and fit in (Williams 102). At the same time, Laura seems to also finally has a chance to be like other girls when Jim kisses her, but then Jim explains that he has a fiancee. Just as the unicorn had been broken literally, Laura had been broken symbolically as her small hope for love and connection disappeared. She was still seclusive because she was terrified to live freely in the harsh, outside world because she could be shattered just as the glass animals could if they’re handled roughly.

Furthermore, the phrase “blue roses” symbolizes Laura’s character as being delicate as a rose, but in a non-existent form. Laura talked about how when Jim started calling her Blue Roses after she said “pleurosis”, she liked it because she “never…had much luck at – making friends” and was extremely shy (Williams 85). Laura also enjoyed the name because the name helped her have a better connection with Jim. It helped her feel like she had a little more worth. Laura also said that “blue is wrong for – roses” and that she wasn’t pretty (Williams 103). She felt as if she were out of the ordinary and just too wrong and out of place for society. However, Jim starts to tell her that she beauty and incredibility, and he kisses her, but she only “blooms” for a short amount of time afterwards. Laura gets too scared to come out of her shell to the world because she feels that no matter how delicate she has been, the world would reject her and leave her feeling all alone and unappreciated. All in all, there are times when certain denotations can help to convey a central teaching. Williams helps to convey a central teaching using certain motifs and representations. To have freedom means having to pay a terrible price.

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The Glass Menagerie Symbolism. (2019, Feb 16). Retrieved from