The Glass Menagerie

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Glass Unicorn Symbol Analysis

Glass Unicorn Symbol Icon
The glass unicorn, Laura’s favorite figurine, is particularly representative of how Tom envisions Laura: beautiful but magical and unique. When Jim breaks the glass unicorn, it becomes a normal horse, no longer a magical creature. The unicorn’s shattering occurs just before Jim kisses Laura, but it signals the impossibility for Jim and Laura to be together: she cannot exist in his world without breaking. Laura presents the broken unicorn to Jim as a souvenir. The figurine becomes a memory of Laura that Jim can bring with him when he leaves Laura and returns to his life, but it also signifies the normal woman that Laura will never become.
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Glass Unicorn Symbol Timeline in The Glass Menagerie

The timeline below shows where the symbol Glass Unicorn appears in The Glass Menagerie. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Scene 7
Illusions and Dreams Theme Icon
Escape Theme Icon
Laura tells Jim about her glass animals. She hands him the unicorn, her favorite, to hold. He says, lightly, that since unicorns are extinct in the modern... (full context)
Abandonment Theme Icon
Illusions and Dreams Theme Icon
...disconsolate, but Jim does not notice the depths of her despair. She places the broken unicorn in his hand, telling him to keep it as a souvenir. (full context)