Notes on Objects & Places from The Glass Menagerie

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The Glass Menagerie Objects/Places

Glass Menagerie: The glass menagerie is Laura's escape from reality. She is completely withdrawn from society. Her shyness and her minor disability make interactions with others difficult. She seems to care only for the little glass animals she collects, and does not seek friendship or companionship with others.

Photograph of the Father: The enlarged photograph of Mr. Wingfield that hangs smiling in the living room is a reminder to Tom that escape is possible. The photograph seems to mock Tom; he got away and left his son to fill his shoes as the breadwinner and protector of the house; all Tom really wants to do is find adventure and write poetry.

Fire Escape: The fire escape is the entrance to the Wingfield's apartment, and that is where Tom goes to smoke cigarettes, for which his mother harasses him endlessly. From the fire escape the sounds of the nightclub across the street can be heard, and although it is an 'escape,' it is still the doorway to the trap that is Tom's life. The fire escape is also a pretty clear symbolic object as it represents a way to escape from the issues of the Wingfield household.

Movies: Tom goes to the movies to get out of the apartment and experience adventure. He goes to the movies every night, but after a while he grows tired of watching the adventure and longs to experience it. The movies are his escape from the mundane life he leads.

Jonquils: Jonquils are the flowers that Amanda couldn't get enough of the summer she had 17 gentleman callers. They are the flowers of her youth and represent beauty and charm. Her life once held such promise; she was desired by many and had not yet been abandoned by the man she chose. Amanda uses jonquils to decorate for the gentleman caller's arrival, and it seems that this spreads the curse; the gentleman caller leaves Laura just as things look promising. Amanda equates this to her husband leaving them sixteen years ago.

Blue Mountain: Amanda's home when she was a young girl, before she married Mr. Wingfield. Blue Mountain is Amanda's rendition of the good ol' days, back when she was young and popular and loved and sought after. Laura's shyness prevents her from attracting suitors as Amanda had in her youth.

The Souvenir: The souvenir is the glass unicorn that is Laura's favorite. While she and Jim are dancing around the living room, the unicorn is knocked from the table and its horn is broken off. She gives the broken unicorn to Jim as a reminder of her.

The Victrola: The Victrola is like a coping mechanism for Laura. Whenever she's in a situation that makes her nervous, she plays the old records that her father left behind and draws enough security from them to make it through whatever ordeal she's facing.

D.A.R.: The Daughters of the American Revolution is a woman's society for descendants of the patriots of the Revolutionary War. It is an exclusive group only for women who can prove their ancestry and its membership is very prestigious. These meetings are very high-society, and Amanda's place among these women is unusual. It's a way of holding on to her faded glory. That's why she wears her best outfit (all imitation) and presents her sugary Southern charm to the other D.A.R. members. The D.A.R. is like the cool clique with whom she must associate.

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