The play “The Glass Menagerie”, by Tennessee Williams, uses many symbols which represent many different things. Many of the symbols used in the play try to symbolize some form of escape or difference between reality and illusion. He attempts to illustrate what people do to remove themselves from their problems by creating an alternate reality.
The first symbol of escape, presented in the first scene, is the fire escape. The play opens with Tom addressing
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busy by taking part-time jobs. I did everything that I could to keep myself occupied. I think this was my way of escaping a somewhat unfavorable family life and also trying to prove that I wanted to succeed in life.
Perhaps Tennessee Williams is trying to send a message that running away is not the way to solve life's problems. That the only escape in life is in solving your problems and not avoiding them.