The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

The Glass Menagerie book cover
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In The Glass Menagerie, Tom tells us that the gentleman caller is a symbol. Explain what he means.

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In his introduction to the play, Tom says that Jim is a symbol of

the long delayed but always expected something that we live for (scene 1)

In other words, Jim is not just a character; he also becomes the symbol of hope for the Wingfields, a goal to be achieved, an ideal to be realised. As a gentleman caller and hoped-for marriage partner for Laura, he represents Amanda’s hopes for her daughter’s future, which would also release Tom from some of his family responsibilities in having to materially provide for his sister. Jim becomes this symbol in Tom’s view, because Tom, a self-confessed poet, ‘has a weakness for symbols’ (scene 1).

Tom also describes Jim as

the most realistic...

(The entire section contains 365 words.)

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