Symbolic illustration of Laura's hands holding a glass unicorn

The Glass Menagerie

by Tennessee Williams

Start Free Trial

What does Laura imply by saying, “Now the unicorn will be like the other animals"?

Expert Answers

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

I think that Williams is trying to bring out more complexity in Laura's character.  It has become evident that Laura is separated from reality.  She is fundamentally more frail and more outside of the sphere of reality.  While Tom and Amanda might be detached from it in their own way, they function better in reality than Laura does.  To this end, Laura recognizes how she sticks out, and how her non- conformist ways are both a part of who she is but also the source of much in way of friction and challenge.  Laura sees that when the unicorn breaks, there is something in this moment that "enables" the unicorn to be like the others.  Laura recognizes that it now can blend in, something that perhaps Laura herself would like to do, but recognizes that she cannot.  The becoming like the other animals is something that allows the unicorn to be embraced by the larger group, an element that Laura herself knows cannot happen to her.  I cannot help that this is reflective of Williams' own background with a sister who suffered from mental illness and underwent the procedure of a lobotomy in order to "fix" her, a way to make her like the other animals.  The statement is Williams' desire to bring out how individual difference is not always embraced by society and how there is pressure to conform, something that Laura feels, but recognizes that she can do little about to change.  In this, I feel that the statement is both a reflection of Williams' own misgivings about how there is a need to conform and his own detesting of this condition.  In having Laura say this, Williams brings out the complex and intricate feelings that one has about individual identity.

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