Symbols in 'The Glass Menagerie' Analytical Essay by Jay Writtings LLC

Symbols in 'The Glass Menagerie'
This paper examines 'The Glass Menagerie' by Tennessee Williams, concentrating on symbols and the importance of the family unit.
# 115950 | 2,300 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2009 | US
Published on Aug 19, 2009 in Drama and Theater (American) , Sociology (General) , Language (General)

$19.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now


In this article, the writer discusses that in the 'The Glass Menagerie', Tennessee Williams seeks to construct a world in which escape, regret, and guilt play large roles in the development of a collapsing family. The writer primarily reviews the major symbols and motifs that guide the theme of the play, 'The Glass Menagerie', and then specifically reviews Laura's glass menagerie, Laura's glass unicorn, the fire escape, Jim O'Connor, and lastly, the name of 'Blue Roses' as major contributing elements to the theme and organization of the play. Ultimately, the writer establishes that, through the use of these symbols, Tennessee Williams has created a work that confronts the notion of instability and insecurity within the family unit, and deconstructs the notion of the importance of the nuclear family in contemporary America.

From the Paper:

"Therefore, Williams is in fact showing the juxtaposition of the dreary way in which the family continues on futilely, with the various levels of fascinating elements about each character. Further, in terms of specifically Laura's character, Williams seems to be suggesting that while she may be painfully socially inept, underneath her social armor of insecurity, lies a legitimate and very human character seeking for more than acceptance, but also an identity separate from her family's created one. Moreover, the glass menagerie represents the way in which we, as the audience, may look at one situation in a certain light, and then be presented with a wholly new perspective through a few simple adjustments.
"While the glass menagerie is symbolic of deeper meaning, it is also symbolic of transparency. Another major theme in The Glass Menagerie is transparency, and the most obvious way in which Williams expresses this theme is with Laura's menagerie. This theme is prevalent is all of the characters. First, Amanda, as a mother and caregiver of her grown children, is constantly pining for the past."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Barnard, D. Brent. "The Symbolism of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie: An Inductive Approach." Louisiana State Press Aug. 2007: 1-342.
  • Boxill, Roger. Tennessee Williams. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1987.
  • King, Thomas L. "Irony and Distance in 'The Glass Menagerie.'" Educational Theatre Journal May, 1973: 207-214
  • Stein, Roger B. "The Glass Menagerie Revisited: Catastrophe Without Violence." Tennessee Williams: A Collection of Critical Essays, Ed. Stephen S. Stanton. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.,1977.
  • Vowles, Richard B. "Tennessee Williams: The World of His Imagery." The Tulane Drama Review Dec. 1958: 51-56.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Symbols in 'The Glass Menagerie' (2009, August 19) Retrieved August 19, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Symbols in 'The Glass Menagerie'" 19 August 2009. Web. 19 August. 2019. <>