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Symbols of laura in The Glass Menagerie

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 862 words Published: 11th May 2017

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In the play The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee William’s Laura is one of the main characters. Laura has a disability because of her leg. She has a slight limp and has to wear a leg brace. Amanda who is Laura and Tom’s mother wants to find Laura a man, someone who is good for her and will take care of her since she has a slight disability. Tom has his friend Jim come over for dinner, whom Laura has had a crush on for years. Jim gets Laura to open up so she is not so self conscious and shy. Sadly Jim is engaged to be married, which hurts Laura but was a good experience for her. Throughout reading the play, each character has their own symbols which represent them. Which symbols from the play represent Laura? From reading the text, a few symbols that represent Laura from the play are the glass menagerie, blue roses and the unicorn.

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The glass menagerie is not only the title of the play but it is an actual glass collection that Laura keeps. In the play, Laura is a very shy and quiet girl, so the only thing she really has is her glass collection which Amanda calls it the glass menagerie. In the play Laura says, “My glass collection takes up a good deal of my time. Glass is something you have to take good care of” (321). She is like the glass menagerie because like them she is fragile and cannot move. Since her collection is glass, it can break easily and since Laura is so shy, it is easy for her to break emotionally. For example, in the play Tom accidentally breaks one of Laura’s glass figurines and Laura instantly starts crying because her collection is that important to her. Also, Laura and the glass menagerie cannot move. Although Laura can move physically unlike the glass menagerie, she cannot move away from the apartment and Amanda like her father and Tom does. Amanda wants Laura to have a man that can take care of Laura since she has a bad leg and until Laura finds a man, Amanda is not going to leave Laura left alone. So ultimately like the glass menagerie Laura is stuck with Amanda in the apartment and cannot move.

Another symbol that represents Laura from the play is blue roses. Laura gets the nickname blue roses from Jim when they were in school together. 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). Blue roses are beautiful, different and unique. Laura is different from other people. She of course has her bad leg but she is also a very shy person. For example while Laura was in Business College she had to speak one day in class Laura tells Amanda, “I couldn’t go back. I-threw up-on the floor!” (288), so because of that Laura never did go back to Business College. Like blue roses, Laura is also unique and beautiful in her own way.

Last but not least, the unicorn also represents Laura. Unicorns are different then other species like it. Unlike regular horses, the unicorn has a horn on its head. The unicorn is one of Laura’s glass figurines from her collection. Laura says, “The unicorn is her favorite one” (322). While Jim and Laura are dancing, Jim bumps the table knocking the unicorn over; the unicorn loses its horn and becomes like all the regular horses with no horns on their heads. Once the unicorn’s horn breaks, it is like all the other horses, which can also reflect Laura because after being broken out of her shell she too can become like other girls and fit in better.

Many people have glass collections like Laura, although many of them may not have an emotional connection to the glass as Laura does. Laura’s glass collection is not real because it is made out of glass, something that can break really easy. It cannot do anything human but sit there on a shelf. Even though Laura’s glass collection is not real does not mean she cannot have an emotional tie to it. Plenty of people have emotional ties to things they own, whether it has sentimental value or not. Like the glass menagerie, blue roses are also not real. Though there is not such thing as blue roses, there are people in the world that can color flowers to make them look a certain color whether its using paint or color dye. Of course there is no such thing as a unicorn; it is simply a mystical creature. Since unicorns are not real one might think putting a unicorn in a play may be useless and not needed because unicorns do not exist. Although it is true unicorns do not exist, the unicorn does have symbolic representation to Laura’s character in the play.

The glass menagerie, blue roses and the unicorn are only a few symbols from the play that represent Laura but there are many more. Like Laura, everyone has things in their life that can symbolize them. Over all, Tennessee William’s play is well written with enough information to support each character.

Work Cited

William, Tennessee. Glass menagerie. Exploring Literature: writing and arguing about fiction, poetry and the essay Ed. Frank Madden. 4th ed. New York: Pearson Longman, 2009. 281-329. Print.


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