Symbolism of the Candelabrum in 'The Glass Menagerie'

Updated March 09, 2017

Candle as Symbolic Catalyst

The candelabrum is also a symbolic catalyst, illuminating the delicate Laura Wingfield along with Jim O'Connor, the gentleman caller, and replacing the "rose-coloured" lights that hid her. She is revealed as her true self. As Brent Barnard notes in his doctoral dissertation, Jim lights both candles and Laura's passion for him.

Candles as Symbolic Death

Williams revealed that Laura is a tribute to his psychologically damaged sister Rose; in an emblematic release from pain, Laura ends her life. Unable to have Jim, she commits symbolic suicide at brother Tom's request: "Blow out your candles, Laura." The play concludes with the damaged candelabrum representing her extinguishing life force.

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About the Author

Michael Stratford is a National Board-certified and Single Subject Credentialed teacher with a Master of Science in educational rehabilitation (University of Montana, 1995). He has taught English at the 6-12 level for more than 20 years. He has written extensively in literary criticism, student writing syllabi and numerous classroom educational paradigms.