The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

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In The Glass Menagerie, why did Laura give the broken unicorn to Jim as a souvenir?

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Hollis Sanders eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Perhaps the least functional member of the family, Laura is plagued by crippling doubt and anxiety, leaving her unable to hold even the most menial of jobs. Incredibly impartial to the worry of the outside world, Laura prefers the company of her collectible figurines. She favors the unicorn most of all, as it is a symbol of how she feels about herself: she is unique, singular, and vulnerable to the pain of the world.

When the unicorn breaks, one would assume that, due to her neurosis, Laura might suffer some kind of breakdown. However, she reacts to the change rather well. She observes that,...

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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noaraz | Student

Laura feels that while losing Jim, she's loosing the last remain of fantasy. Unicorns in general representing fantasies, and in parallel, the broken one represents the lost dream.  

There is also a suggestion in which Laura realizes that there's some romance going on between Jim and Tom. When giving him the unicorn, representing her broken heart, she symbolically gives Tom away, asking Jim to take best care of him.

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