Symbolism In The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams Essay

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Tennessee Williams', The Glass Menagerie, is a play that evokes great sympathy and in some cases, empathy for a protagonist who struggles to overcome two opposing forces; his responsibilities and his desires. There are many symbols and non-liner references that contribute to the development of characterization, dramatic tensions and the narrative. This essay will examine in detail, the aspects of the play that contribute to the development of the above mentioned elements.
In Tom's opening addresses, he explains to the audience that the play's fifth character is his absent father –present only in the form of a picture that hangs on the wall. This picture that looms above the dining room table makes the reader visualize the Wingfield
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Just as America restlessly experiences peace before World War Two, Tom is anxiously awaiting his escape to explore the world before him that will leave his family in ruins. Much like his father did.
The fire escape is a prominent part of the setting. It is an important symbol that represents the imprisonment that Tom feels and the possibility of a way out. Williams characterizes the fire escape with symbolic weight, saying that the buildings are burning with the "implacable fires of human desperation." Tom makes several addresses to the audience from the fire escape. These addresses are highlights of the play and would indicate that the fire escape is a critical place in which he confides and depends on. It also foreshadows his departure from home as the "fire escape" is what enables his "escape" to search for solitude and freedom. At the fire escape, he stands alone between the outside world that awaits, and his apartment. This alludes to the painful choice he makes in scene seven. In order to escape, he must escape alone and leave his mother and sister, who are dependent upon him, behind. Laura's vulnerability and dependence is also emphasized in this symbolic space that is most closely linked to Tom. Tom will later climb down the fire escape one final time, leaving the apartment and his family forever. Laura stumbles on the fire escape, and the fall symbolizes her
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