Symbolic illustration of Laura's hands holding a glass unicorn

The Glass Menagerie

by Tennessee Williams

Start Free Trial

Discuss the concept of magic in the play The Glass Menagerie.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The concept of magic in this play is brought up in relation to the theme of transformation, when Tom tells Laura about the magic show he saw at the cinema and gives her a magic handkerchief which can change one thing into another (scene four). Tom longs to effect a wholesale transformation of his own life, which he compares to the magician getting himself out of a locked coffin. Amanda also longs for a life transformation, if not for herself then certainly for Laura. Laura's life does become magically transformed for a while (as does her appearance) when it seems that Jim might be falling in love with her but this does not last.

On a slightly different note, at the very beginning of the play, Tom introduces himself as being the opposite of a stage magician, suggesting that he is presenting reality to the audience, although dressed up in poetic forms.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial