The Glass Menagerie is an extremely well written play. It stars an adventurous dreamer named Tom, who is also the narrator. He is the provider for the rest of his family; his mother Amanda, and his sister Laura. Amanda is a selfish, annoying, mother, that lives in the past. Laura suffers from an inferiority complex. She lives in a world of little glass animals and old records. The play is very symbolic.
The play begins with a speech from Tom. It tells the audience how he is frustrated with his life and wants to leave. Amanda constantly nags him and Laura everyday. Laura drops out of business school. Amanda believes that Laura will end up an old maid if she doesn't quickly get a gentlemen caller. She asks Tom to get one from the warehouse where he works. Tom invites Jim O"Conner over for dinner. Jim is the guy Laura had a crush on in high school. Jim diagnoses Laura with an inferiority complex. He raises her self-esteem and ultimately cures her of it. He then tells Laura that he is engaged and has to leave. Amanda blames Tom, compelling him to bolt from the house, never to return.
The glass menagerie is the perfect representation of Laura. It symbolizes the fragility and awkward beauty she possesses. The unicorn is her favourite. It symbolizes how she is different from everyone else and seems to exist in another world. When the horn is accidentally broken off later in the play, it shows how she has rid herself of the inferiority complex and come back to reality. .
The fire escape is one of the many excellent symbols from the play. Tom goes out onto the fire escape to smoke every time he gets frustrated, so he can escape from reality. Amanda only sees the fire escape as a poor excuse for a porch. Tom not only uses the fire escape to separate himself from reality but he goes to the movies lots too. Amanda constantly fights with him over this because she thinks that he is actually drinking instead.