Symbolism in the glass menagerie.

The author of the play uses appropriate symbols in the play all of which enhance his development of the conflict among the characters as the analysis below portrays.

Tennessee uses a number of symbols in the play. The first and the most conspicuous among which is the fire escape. The fire escape means different things and plays different roles to different characters in the play. The fire represents a bridge for the characters who use it to break through to the real world from their illusionary environments. For Tom, the main character and the narrator of the story, the fire escape offers him an efficient escape from the nagging world that comprises of his mother Amanda and sister Laura. Tom often stands out of the fire escape to smoke (Cohn 121). This offers him an opportunity to reflect and meditate away from his family that nags him constantly. Additionally, the fact that he cannot smoke when with the two portrays the lack of freedom and the confinement he feels when with them thereby compelling him to break free into his free and real world where he enjoys the precious smoke.

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The fire escape provides Laura with a way into her world. The fire escape represents a systematic way that takes Laura into her world. In scene four, Amanda sends Laura to the store. On her way out of the house, Laura slips on the fire escape. The slip is a strategic inclusion in the plot of the scene since it shows the extent of Laura’s emotions and fears, her inability to pass the fire escape successfully without slipping shows her inability to control herself given her shy personality. The fire escape therefore shows her inability to escape her intimidating world. Amanda is the boss who influences the actions within the fire escape. She controls the other characters and nags at Tom thereby making it difficult for the two to live their lives naturally. However, she does not pursue the two characters past the fire escape.

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