Esaay on the Glass Menagerie

Tennessee Williams employs a range of non-linear allusions or motifs such as the ‘the fifth character’ to skillfully create a number of characters with distinct traits, motivations and agendas. The constant references to such motifs therefore assist characterization and in turn the advancement of the plot. They are also useful in conveying rising dramatic tension between the characters and influencing the resolution due to the fact that they foretell up coming events.
For example, because of the perpetual presence of the photograph of the father or ‘fifth character’, means that there’s always a looming reminder that Tom will inevitably follow in his foot steps, allowing the situation to manifest itself into the nightmares of Amanda. Moreover, each of these entities bears a different connotation and significance for different characters thus is vital in shaping the identity of each character. In most cases they are used as metaphors for the weaknesses and shortcomings of each character.
For instance, the phonograph records symbolizes the one of the refuges or sanctuaries of Laura where she runs to hide in times of danger such as when her mother is scolding her for not attending business college. This reveals her vulnerability and lack of confidence just as the collection of glass she owns is a symbol of her fragility. These items are purposefully used in reinforcing her as someone in need for ‘somebody to take care of her’ in Amanda’s words.
In the same way, jonquils are continually used to expose the flaws of Amanda as they signify the fact that she lives in the unrealistic fantasy world of the past which she resorts to in times of hardship. As a result she is always wistfully ever comparing her daughter’s situation to her own as a popular young girl who one Saturday had ‘seventeen gentlemen callers’ subconsciously further decreasing Laura’s depleted self esteem. In addition, Amanda’s frequent the juxtapositioning of herself as a youth with her binary...