It is a common theme that authors highlight the values of a culture or society by using characters who are alienated from the typical social norms. A primary example would be Tennessee Williams play, The Glass Menagerie, where Williams depicts a character named Laura as very isolated from the world and those around her. Laura is a very shy young woman who fears her mother and fails to meet up to her mother’s expectations and previous footsteps with gentlemen callers.
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Throughout the entire play a reader will notice how the central theme involves how individuals are all alone in the world.
Clear from the start, the reader can differentiate the dynamics of the family introduced. Laura is isolated, Tom is unhappy and wants to leave his family, but realizes that they need him, and the mother is obsessed with the idea of Laura getting married. This unfunctional family increases Laura’s need of isolation from her family and world. Williams describes Laura’s isolation through the symbolic use of glass. Similar to glass Laura is extremely fragile, she faces being easily damaged and destroyed. Glass objects have three dimensions very easily seen similar to Laura. It is easy to see every damaged side of Laura, just as it is on the glass figures. Laura is trapped in her own world of alienation. Glass reflects a rainbow of personality and beauty. Similar to the rainbow given off by glass, Laura has a sense of beauty and a colorful self-awareness.
Williams also brings attention to Laura’s isolation from the world, to magnify the idea that there is beauty in human differences.
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