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Word Count: 2,497
The Glass Menagerie conforms to the expectation that Williams plays consistently portray fragile vulnerable and defeated characters Such characteristics form a bond of shared experience as those portrayed in this play struggle to cope in a world of reality that is changing beyond recognition Their ability to deal with reality and the choices that they make in their attempts to cope highlight the extent of their vulnerability fragility and defeat as Williams seeks to capture the truth of human experienceBigsby 36 The Glass Menagerie is infused with symbolism a device that enables and supports the exploration of vulnerability fragility and sense of defeat apparent in the characters of this play However we are also guided by the production notes and stage directions both of which enable us to designate the one character that best encompasses the fragile vulnerable and defeated characteristics consistent with Williams work that of Laura Wingfield Williams states that when looking at a piece of delicately spun glass we should be reminded of two things how beautiful it is and how easily it can be broken 231 From a symbolic standpoint the lovely fragility of glass231 is reflective of Lauras image whilst the extensive directions that refer to Lauras character seek to develop her sense of defeat Lauras gestures exude nervousness 239 and panic 278 her speech is breathless desperate and despairing 279 Whilst her smile is faint and apologetic 240 her laughter is tinged with doubt 246 The reality of being alone with a stranger291 is perceived as an almost intolerable strain291 for Laura It is as an escape from reality that the glass menagerie provides Laura with an opportunity to retreat to a world of her own - a world of little glass ornaments272 Its physical presence allows Laura a basis in which to create a fantasy world where she becomes ensconced Becoming a part of this world Laura reflects the figures of her glass collection like them becoming
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