The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

The Glass Menagerie book cover
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Does the glass menagerie represent the same thing throughout the play, or does the meaning change?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think it slightly changes in sentimental meaning, but not allegorically speaking. It continuously means fragility, clarity, and vulnerability. When Jim accidentally breaks the glass (a symbol of a broken heart, and a break in boundaries), Laura seems to realize the reality of her life. Maybe she even learns to accept her reality of being a woman whose life has been wasted hiding beneath the fragile shield of her glass menagerie. However, I do not see the symbol of the glass, itself, changing in any way-just the way Laura looks at it, and feels about it.

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Interesting discussion, because I came...

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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nextlevelapparatussauce | Student

woooooooow 
you guys are awesome!

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eribogado | Student

the glass menagerie represents Laura's fragility and odditty. she is immerse in her own world where she escapes from reality. the unicorn represents Laura's uniqueness but when it breaks it represents a change in Laura´s life, now she is not going to be an unicorn in a world of horses anymore, that´s why I think that the meaning of the glass menagerie symbolism changes at the end of the story.

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epollock | Student

That's a good question. I think if it changed, then it would lead into something more allegorical as opposed to symbolizing one concrete object.

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