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The Glass Menagerie - Admission/Application Essay Example

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Summary
The story revolves a young man, Tom Wingfield, who is forced to take care of the family after the father abandoned it. The young man’s sister, Laura, is extremely shy and is mainly preoccupied with glass animals that…
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The Glass Menagerie
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Lecturer Essay # The Glass Menagerie This is a play by Tennessee Williams first produced in 1944. The story revolves a young man, Tom Wingfield, who is forced to take care of the family after the father abandoned it. The young man’s sister, Laura, is extremely shy and is mainly preoccupied with glass animals that draw her away from reality. Due to economic depression, the family struggles to survive. Throughout the play, the Glass Menagerie represents different things.
The Glass Menagerie, being fragile and delicate, represents the real nature of Laura. She is crippled both emotionally and physically. This fragility is well brought out at the start of the play when the author gives a description of the characters. He notes that for Laura, “a childhood illness has left her crippled…” and that her “… separation increases till she is like a piece of her own glass collection” (Williams, 751). Throughout the play, the author uses the Glass Menagerie to illustrate to the readers the delicate life Laura lived, and her general fragility. Furthermore, this fragility is also illustrated when Laura herself tells Tom that, “If you breathe, it breaks” (Williams, VII). In other words, Laura is describing herself to Tom and highlights the degree of her fragility. She may appear beautiful just like the glass but she is equally fragile.
The Glass Menagerie is also used to symbolize the ideal and imaginative world Laura immerses herself into. It is a life filled with color and decorations, but just like the glass, it is based on fragile illusions. This is the only life Laura finds fascinating and exciting. Laura’s immersion into this world is well captured when she tells Amanda that she has lately “been spending most of [her] afternoons in the Jewel-box…” (Williams, II). Clearly, readers see that Laura is not interested in the normal world but rather in a world of the Glass Menagerie. She uses glass objects to escape reality and get involved in a world of fantasies. Unfortunately, this world is as delicate as the glass collections. It is not a permanent world, and just like the Glass Menagerie, this world can easily vanish or break.
Finally, the Glass Menagerie represents the purity of Laura, and her ability to bring happiness and light to others. It also symbolizes the nature of other characters like Jim. Just like the Glass Menagerie, Laura has the ability to bring happiness and color to the life of others under the right circumstances. Glass, when illuminated, produces exciting colors. For example, in the last scene, as Jim and Laura stand in a darkened stage, Laura gives him one her favorite glass figures. She tells him to “Hold him over the light, he loves the light! You see how the light shines through him?”(Williams, VII). Clearly, this symbolizes Laura’s character. She is like a price of glass that brings brightness and happiness to people’s life. Although she is quiet and extremely shy when around strangers, she is a source of delight to those people who view her in the right way. It is like shining light onto one of his glass collections. In addition, throughout the relationship between Laura and Jim, he is also seen to be the source of light in Laura’s life. He lights her life using the alter candles.
Throughout the play, The Glass Menagerie has been used to symbolize Laura’s fragile nature, the nature of his fantasy world and her ability to bring and receive happiness from others.
Works Cited
Williams, Tennessee. “Plays 1937-1955: Tennessee Williams.” New York : The Library of America, 2000. Pp. 749-784 Read More
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