Symbols In The Glass Menagerie

“Many a time, facing and accepting reality involves enduring difficulties and internal struggles, unlike in fictional stories and dramas. The representations in Tennessee Williams’ play, The Glass Menagerie, is crucial to the reader’s interpretation of the overall main idea. In the play, Williams incorporates many symbolic pieces such as Laura’s glass menagerie and the fire escape to illustrate that fantasies and unreachable dreams offer an escape from reality, but they cannot be sustained.

Laura’s glass menagerie is her collection of glass animal figurines which symbolizes many features of her personality. For example, Laura describes her “little animals made out of glass,” telling Jim to “be careful,” and showing him “how the light shines through” her favorite one, a unicorn (Williams 83). Williams compares Laura’s delicate, mysterious, and odd character and her imaginative, illusory beliefs to the fragile, fascinating figures that are transparent, yet colorful when shone light. The reader can understand that the menagerie is Laura’s most prized possession and only interest, and she exemplifies the figurines as an illusion to reality. Similarly, when Jim accidentally breaks the horn off the unicorn favorite, he feels awfully sorry while Laura views it as “an operation… to make him feel less freakish” (Williams 86). The author includes the break of Laura’s favorite unicorn to represent the temporary break from reality and the extended break from her dreams. The reader learns that the delicate glass is broken while Jim and Laura were playfully dancing, also expressing Laura’s heart that is broken when Jim reveals that he is engaged. The fragile glass menagerie further promotes the temporary escape with imagination from constant reality.

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The fire escape is the setting of the opening and subsequent scenes of reflection, symbolizing an escape from the fires of struggle and failure in the family in reality. For instance, while attempting to leave the reality of the tension and silence between Tom and Amanda, on the way down the fire escape, “rushing out… [Laura] slipped, but [she was] all right,” displaying her incapability to escape from her situation (Williams 29). Williams highlights the impossibleness of escaping reality by including the fire escape literally symbolizing an escape from reality. The reader makes conclusions that reality is inevitable and inescapable based on Laura’s incompetent actions. On the other hand, at the finish of the play, Tom “descended the steps of this fire escape for a last time and … was pursued by something,” finally beginning his previously addressed goal of adventure years later (Williams 97). The author incorporates this scenery and setting at the end of the play to signal that Tom eventually discovered an escape from the reality in the home and a new pathway to a different reality out of the home. However, the reader knows that this escape is imperfect and incomplete as old memories of Laura and the Wingfield apartment continue to follow him after his departure. In the end, the fire escape provides a sense of helplessness and weakness of eternally escaping reality.

All in all, Williams utilizes the symbolic meanings of the glass menagerie and fire escape to portray the unsustainable escape from reality. In truth, the reality is absolutely tight and tough and impossible to avoid or evade. One should work hard to accept it and respond to it in a positive way.”

Manual Labor Is One Of The Most Essential Things

“Manual labor is one of the most essential things in a successful career. It is what paved the way for Booker T. Washington’s many incredible accomplishments. In Booker T. Washington’s autobiography, Up From Slavery, He pushes for the importance of manual labor to be part of America’s educational system. This book shows us the trials of Booker T’s life in slavery and how he overcame them. It shows how he chose to learn from his years in slavery and strive for greatness as he moved on towards having an education and using his hands to work whenever he could. His autobiography shows how manual labor effects all areas of life and should be taught to all people as part of their education. Some examples of why manual labor is important are that it gives one a sense of accomplishment, it prepares one for many of life’s trials, and it plays a big part in a significant amount of employment.

In the early years of Booker T’s life, he worked cleaning a woman’s house. This experience taught him to clean efficiently, and in turn, enabled him to get into a very prestigious college that he wanted to attend. This experience helped him feel accomplished and was vital towards his entrance into college. An example of Washington’s accomplishment is when he states “”‘The sweeping of the room was my college examination, and never did any youth pass an examination for entrance into Harvard or Yale that gave him more genuine satisfaction. I have passed several examinations since then, but I have always felt that this one was the best one I ever passed,’”” (p36). Washington states here that cleaning the room with his hands gave him more satisfaction than any academically based exam he ever took in his life. This demonstrates the Welch 2 importance of manual labor. Knowing how to work hard and accomplish something with your hands gives one confidence, satisfaction, and it is of great use everywhere they go.

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A second reason why education should be equal with manual labor is that without having been taught both, people will not be prepared to face the world with confidence. An example of this from Booker T. Washington’s autobiography is when he states “”‘ I have begun everything with the idea that I could succeed’”” (p46). Here when Washington states he begins “”everything”” in such a way, it is clear that he was confident in all aspects of life. It is important for manual labor to be taught to all people so that they will have the confidence and ability to successfully do things that are important in life such as cooking, cleaning, or repairing things. When one enjoys their career and is confident in it, it will not seem like work, but rather be an enjoyable everyday experience. During one summer, Booker T. Washington had to work at a restaurant to secure money. Working in manual labor based jobs is something many college students must do to make their way through schooling.

An example of Booker T. Washington working in this way is when he states “”‘I wanted very much to go somewhere where I might secure work that would at least pay me enough to purchase some much-needed clothing and other necessities… I finally secured work in a restaurant’”” (p45). In this quote, readers can see Washington worked hard wherever he could to pay for clothing and other essential items like hygiene supplies. It took Booker T. Washington being put into slavery for him to learn to work with his hands. Without this situation, he would not have been able to secure a job to get through schooling. This is one very good reason why manual labor should be taught along with basic academics so that men and women can support themselves and their families when academically based jobs are scarce. It can also supply jobs for those who are less academically gifted, yet are willing to work with their hands Welch 3 for money. Many people are gifted in areas that fall into the area of manual labor. Such gifts may be sewing, building homes, and businesses, or even gardening. There are countless areas of employment that are important parts of civilization. These jobs must be filled and are just as important as any academically based career. These three points, that manual labor can bring confidence, and prepare people for the world, and it can be a good source of income for many people, prove the fact that manual labor should be viewed and taught equally with academics.

Manual labor affects all areas of life like raising children or supporting civilization. Manual labor will take part in each and every person’s life at one point or another. Booker T. Washington spent a large portion of his life striving to help others achieve greatness through willingness and comprehension of manual labor. The world can honor his efforts, and improve significantly by teaching and learning manual labor as part of America’s everyday educational system.”

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