The Glass Menagerie

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Blue Roses Symbol Analysis

Blue Roses Symbol Icon
Jim calls Laura “Blue Roses,” a mispronunciation of “pleurosis,” the childhood disease that left Laura crippled. The name “Blue Roses” turns Laura’s defect into an asset: her unusual, otherworldly qualities are seen as special rather than debilitating. Laura is closely based on Tennessee Williams’s sister, Rose, who underwent a lobotomy while Williams was writing the play, and the nickname is also likely in tribute to her.

Blue Roses Quotes in The Glass Menagerie

The The Glass Menagerie quotes below all refer to the symbol of Blue Roses. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Memory Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the New Directions edition of The Glass Menagerie published in 1999.
Scene 7 Quotes

They’re common as—weeds, but—you—well, you’re—Blue Roses!

Related Characters: Jim O’Connor (speaker), Laura Wingfield
Related Symbols: Blue Roses, Music
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

After he dances with Laura and breaks the unicorn, Jim suddenly takes much closer notice of Laura. He has been kind to her throughout the scene, but now, he sees her as not only a sweet but lonely woman, but as a pretty ingénue, someone who could possibly be the object of his affections. “Blue Roses,” once a lighthearted childhood nickname, is now presented to Laura as though it were a rare bouquet. Jim moves from polite interaction to what appears to be genuinely emotional courting.

The stage direction notes that the music changes as soon as Jim calls Laura “Blue Roses.” Although she is quiet, Laura is extremely overcome with emotions as Jim shifts from describing her as though she were a sister to starting to view her as a potential lover. The scene seems like one of Tom’s magic tricks, however, since he is, after all, the magician of the play. Jim’s speech is beautiful, but, like the glass menagerie, feels doomed to shatter.

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Blue Roses Symbol Timeline in The Glass Menagerie

The timeline below shows where the symbol Blue Roses appears in The Glass Menagerie. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Scene 2
Memory Theme Icon
Illusions and Dreams Theme Icon
Escape Theme Icon
An image of blue roses appears on the screen. Laura sits in the apartment, polishing her menagerie of glass figures.... (full context)
Memory Theme Icon
Illusions and Dreams Theme Icon
...of school for a while because she had pleurosis, but he misheard the word as “Blue Roses,” which became his nickname for her. Amanda declares that Laura will marry some nice man.... (full context)
Scene 7
Memory Theme Icon
Illusions and Dreams Theme Icon
...knew each other in high school. At first, Jim doesn’t remember, but when Laura mentions “Blue Roses,” he springs up with a vivid flash of recollection. They recall their chorus class together.... (full context)
Abandonment Theme Icon
Illusions and Dreams Theme Icon
Jim tells Laura that she is as uncommon as blue roses and says that someone ought to kiss her. He turns her toward him and kisses... (full context)