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Fragile as Glass in The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

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In Tennessee Williams‘ play The Glass Menagerie, the audience believes that the menagerie simply refers to a glass collection owned by Laura Wingfield. Laura lives with her brother Tom and her mother Amanda. Due to her mother‘s desire for her to marry, Jim‘s introduction to the play is one as a gentleman caller. When Laura describes her glass animals to
Jim, she uses her mother‘s term ―glass menagerie‖ (Williams 414) for them. All of the figures are glass, but the animals in it vary, and thus fit, one definition of the word. However, there is another definition to consider: ―an unusual and varied group of people‖ (―Menagerie‖). This interpretation of the word seems to fit the entire play. Glass takes on many forms: clear,
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15). The constant pressure to live up to someone that he is not leads him to his final, family-related choice. Even by leaving, he finds that he is still not free. Tom discovers that he cannot ―leave [her] behind …‖ (Williams 420) when thinking of his sister. The effects are that of a piece of fractured glass, not truly broken, but beyond repair.
Tom‘s recollections of Laura make her out to be more fragile than she might have been.
It is easy to think of her as a piece of clear, hand-blown glass, fragile and see-through at the same time. She refers to herself as ―crippled‖ (Williams 392), even though her mother tells her it is ―a little defect—hardly noticeable…‖ (Williams 393). This little defect has had an impact on her demeanor and becomes the cause for separation from reality (Tischler par. 19; 21). She truly feels that her whole being was transformed due to the defect in her leg (Tischler par. 21). This leads to her spending a great deal of ―time with her glass animals‖ (Holditch par. 4). Upon a closer look, one is not so sure that there was not more to her than just being shy over her leg.
Rather than telling her mother the truth about quitting school, she spends her time walking and visiting the zoo. This makes her personality seems faceted, like cut glass. She seems fragile and in need of protection on one hand; on the other hand, her grasp of reality is uncanny. She is always the one who must strive to keep the peace
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