The Glass Menagerie

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Music Symbol Icon
Tennessee Williams's stage directions frequently call for music to underscore key moments in a scene. “The Glass Menagerie” theme repeats frequently throughout the play. Laura and Amanda associate music with the absent Mr. Wingfield, who left the family his Victrola. The Victrola player provides Laura an auditory escape and contrasts with the clickety-clack of the typewriter, which reminds her of her failed attempt to attend business college. Laura also associates music with Jim, whom she met in the school choir; Jim, we are told, has a beautiful voice.

Music Quotes in The Glass Menagerie

The The Glass Menagerie quotes below all refer to the symbol of Music. 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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Music Symbol Timeline in The Glass Menagerie

The timeline below shows where the symbol Music appears in The Glass Menagerie. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Scene 1
Memory Theme Icon
Illusions and Dreams Theme Icon
...Mississippi, a story she has clearly told many, many times before. The lights dim and music begins to play. At Laura’s gentle urging, Tom mechanically plays along, asks his mother questions... (full context)
Memory Theme Icon
Illusions and Dreams Theme Icon
...suggests that Laura practice her typing as she waits for gentleman callers to arrive. The music of “The Glass Menagerie” plays as Laura tells Amanda that there won’t be callers coming... (full context)
Scene 6
Illusions and Dreams Theme Icon
Escape Theme Icon
...on the landing. Laura desperately tries to buy time by winding the Victrola to play music, but eventually, she reluctantly opens the door. (full context)
Scene 7
Illusions and Dreams Theme Icon
Jim and Laura hear waltz music from the Paradise Dance Hall. Despite Laura’s protests, Jim leads her in a clumsy waltz... (full context)