The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams.
The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams is a play abounding with symbolism. Connections that exist are between the fire escape and the way Tom escapes from his problems, the glass figurines and Laura's life, and the unicorn and her self-image. These create a higher level on which the play must be examined. Without comprehension of William's use of symbolism, one could never have a proper understanding of the theme of the play and how the theme develops. These symbols give an insight and understanding of the life of the Wingfields.
The first symbol in this play is Tom and the fire escape. This was Tom's escape to the real world. He often went out there to have cigarettes, and to sit and think about how badly he wanted a different life. Tom would think about the different ways he would get away from his family, and the ways he would live his life on his own. He had already started getting on with his life by becoming a member of the Union of Merchant Seaman. Tom's leaving every night and escaping onto the fire escape when he is home just to get away from the "ugly-babbling old-witch-(Williams 1723). Tom would also go to movies and to the bars to withdraw himself from the many problems of his home life. He would get drunk to help him forget about his mother's nasty words. He would go out almost every night to help him deal with the weight of his family. Tom's mother, Amanda constantly reminds him of how much he is like his father. Tom plan is to show his mother how much he is like his father by becoming a member of the Union of Merchant Seaman and leaving her and his sister, Laura.
Next is the glass figures that reside in Laura's menagerie are symbols of Laura herself. Laura is like a piece of her own glass collection, too exquisitely fragile to move from the shelf. She explained to Jim that, "My glass collection takes up a good deal of time"(1750).