In high school, Jim was basically your all around nice guy. He was friendly to everyone, and an example of this is that he called Laura "Blue Roses." He was being friendly when he nicknamed her that, but otherwise they didn't really talk to each other. That was basically under the only circumstances that they actually talked. The only reason that Jim asked Laura what was the matter in the first place, was because she was out of school for a long time and he was just a little concerned like anyone that is your all around nice and friendly type of person would do.
Jim was confident about himself all throughout high school. Laura was not. Evidence to prove Jim's confidentiality in himself is when Tom is telling us about Jim, "He seemed to move in the continual spotlight... He was always running or bounding, never just walking." (pg.
61) Evidence from the text to prove Laura wasn't very confident in herself, is when she says, "Yes, it was so hard for me, getting upstairs. I had that brace on my leg - it clumped so loud! ... I had to go clumping all the way up the aisle with everyone watching!" (pg. 94) Jim was always in the company of others. Evidence of this is, "He seemed to move in a continual spotlight. He was a star in basketball, captain of the debating club, president of the senior class and the glee club and he sang the male lead in the annual light operas." (pg.
61) Laura was the exact opposite of him. She was a bit of a wallflower. She did not like being around other people because she thought that they were mocking her, so this is why she tried to just blend in with the crowd. Jim had fond memories of his time in high school. As Tom would say, "He was a star in basketball, captain of the debating club, president of the senior class and the glee club and he sang the male lead in the annual light operas." (pg. 61) This is the memories that Jim has from high school.
Laura, on the other hand, has only one fond memory of high school, and that memory is Jim. She remembers Jim as this perfect guy that everyone liked. And she liked him too, just because he took the time to give her a pet name and inquire about her health. Other than that, her memories of high school were all bad. As she would say, "I had that brace on my leg - it clumped so loud! ...
I had to go clumping all the way up the aisle with everyone watching!" (pg. 94) Laura basically remembers high school as a time where everyone was making fun of her because of her disability. In reality though, hardly anyone, if anyone, even noticed! How this all ties in with their relationship now, is that it is still basically the same, with a few slight changes. Laura is still just as in confident about herself, but by then end of the text, Jim has helped her to build up her confidence about herself a little bit. Evidence of this is when Jim accidentally breaks the unicorn, and Laura ends up giving it to him. This symbolizes how Laura is feeling more confident about herself, because before it was her most valued piece of glass because it was different from all the others, and in this way reminded her or herself, but Jim helped to get rid or her horn, so she is now like all the rest.
Jim still feels confident about himself, but he is less of a hero now. He thinks that he can go places, but he doesn't exactly have a cheering team over in the corner rooting for him, like he did in high school. The play The Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams, Williams uses many symbols which represent many different things. Many of the symbols used in the play try to symbolize some form of escape or difference between reality and illusion. The first symbol, presented in the first scene, is the fire escape.
This represents the "bridge" between the illusory world of the Wingfield's and the world of reality. This "bridge" seems to be a one way passage. But the direction varies for each character. For Tom, the fire escape is the way out of the world of Amanda and Laura and an entrance into the world of reality.
For Laura, the fire escape is a way into her world. A way to escape from reality. Both examples can readily be seen: Tom will stand outside on the fire escape to smoke, showing that he does not like to be inside, to be a part of the illusionary world. Laura, on the other hand, thinks of the fire escape as a way in and not a way out.
This can be seen when Amanda sends Laura to go to the store: Laura trips on the fire escape. This also shows that Laura's fears and emotions greatly affect her physical condition, more so than normal people. Another symbol presented deals more with Tom than any of the other characters: Tom's habit of going to the movies shows us his longing to leave the apartment and head out into the world of reality. A place where one can find adventure. And Tom, being a poet, can understand the needs of man to long for adventure and romance. But he is kept from entering reality by Amanda, who criticizes him as being a "selfish dreamer." But, Tom has made steps to escape into reality by transferring the payment of a light bill to pay for his dues in the Merchant Seaman's Union.
Another symbol, which deals with both Amanda and Laura, is Jim O'Connor. To Laura, Jim represents the one thing she fears and does not want to face, reality. Jim is a perfect example of "the common man." A person with no real outstanding quality. In fact, Jim is rather awkward, which can be seen when he dances with Laura. To Amanda, Jim represents the days of her youth, when she went frolicking about picking jonquils and supposedly having "seventeen gentlemen callers on one Sunday afternoon." Although Amanda desires to see Laura settled down with a nice young man, it is hard to tell whether she wanted a gentleman caller to be invited for Laura or for herself. One symbol which is rather obvious is Laura's glass menagerie.
Her collection of glass represents her own private world. Set apart from reality, a place where she can hide and be safe. The events that happen to Laura's glass affects Laura's emotional state greatly. When Amanda tells Laura to practice typing, Laura instead plays with her glass.
When Amanda is heard walking up the fire escape, she quickly hides her collection. She does this to hide her secret world from the others. When Tom leaves to go to the movies in an angered rush, he accidentally breaks some of Laura's glass. The shattered glass represents Laura's understanding of Tom's responsibilities to her.
Also, the unicorn, which is important, represents Laura directly. Laura points out to Jim that the unicorn is different, just as she is different. She also points out that the unicorn does not complain of being different, as she does not complain either. And when Jim breaks the horn off the unicorn, Laura points out that now it is like the other horses, just as Laura has shed some of her shyness and become more normal. When she hands the broken unicorn to Jim, this might represent Laura handing over her broken love to Jim, as Jim has revealed that he is engaged to be married. As can be seen, there are quite a few symbols in this play.
And a number of them have diverse meanings. Most of these symbols have a direct meaning in the author's own life. This is understandable seeing that the play is supposed to be "memory play." It is obvious that this memory play is based on Williams' own memories.