Why is the play called "The Glass Menagerie"? Explain how Laura's glass collection symbolizes each family member.
The play was originally entitled "The Glass Menagerie." That is because it is a symbol of Laura's frailty. Like the glass figurines that she loves so well, Laura is very fragile and has a great deal of trouble existing in the modern world. Like her favorite piece, the unicorn, she seems to be the kind of girl that would have been more understood in an earlier time period. However, it you look at the entire Wingfield family, it is also very fragile. Amanda, the mother, is very worried about her daughter and has been left alone to raise two children after her husband left her. They have so little money that Tom must chose between paying dues for the merchant seaman's organization or paying the light bill. For his part, Tom is also fragile. He is torn between staying and taking care of his mother or sister or leaving like his father and eventually becoming a writer. Once he makes the choice to leave, the image of his sister haunts her. As he says at the end of the play, "Oh Laura, Laura. I tried to leave you behind me but I have been more faithful than I intended to be."