In The Glass Menagerie, the usage of props are important parts of the play. The fire escape, Victrola phonograph, Laura's unicorn, and Tom's movie going, affects the characters' lives everyday in one way or another. In the play, the character, Tom was disturbed by responsibility for his mother and sister. He used the fire escape a lot in the play. He went outside to stand on it when he smoked, to escape the nagging from his mother, or to make his final departure from his family. Tom didn't like being responsible for his mother and sister, working at a job he hated. He wanted to escape down those stairs and never come back. In scene five, Tom speaks to the audience about what he sees from the fire escape, Paradise Dance Hall. The dance hall, to him was what he wanted. Everyone there was living exciting lives: " .
. . hot swing music and liquor, dance halls, bars and movies, and sex that hung in the gloomÃÂ¡K" Tom wanted to live a more exciting life. In the final scene Tom says "I descended the steps of this fire escape for a last time and followed, from then on, in my father's footsteps, attempting to find in motion what was lost in space." Tom wanted to be free, and to him, the fire escape was the exit into freedom. Movies were also an important part of Tom's life. He went to the movies when he and his mother argued or when he felt he needed some excitement. In scene four, Amanda asks, "Why do you go to the movies so much, Tom?" and Tom replies "I go to the movies because - I like adventure. Adventure is something I don't have much of a work, so I go to the movies." Tom doesn't have adventure at work or at home. The movies to him, represented what he wanted, adventure. The Victrola phonograph was Laura's means of escape and comfort. Laura is very shy, very fragile, and has a very big "inferiority complex". She uses the Victrola so much to comfort her, that it has become an instinct. In scene three, Laura's mother finds out that she has dropped out of Business College. When Amanda is lecturing her, "Laura draws a long breath and gets awkwardly to her feet. She crosses to the Victrola, and winds it up." Amanda says, "What are you doing?" Laura says "Oh!" and returns to her seat for the rest of the lecture. Laura automatically got up and wound the Victrola when she felt she needed to escape from the situation with Amanda. She didn't even realize what she was doing. In scene six, when Amanda's forcing Laura to open the door for the "gentleman caller", Laura goes over to the Victrola and winds it up. She doesn't want to answer the door and instead, winds the Victrola, because she's afraid. The Victrola is part of her "comfort zone". Laura uses the Victrola throughout the play, when she wants to avoid confrontation or when she's hurt. In scene five, she winds up the Victrola when Jim, tells her that he's engaged to Betty. Laura feels crushed and winds the Victrola. For Laura, the Victrola is her means of escape. Laura lives in her own little world inside the apartment. Her glass collection is the most important thing to her. The collection "takes up a good deal of my time. Glass is something you have to take good care of," she says in scene seven. One glass animal, in particular, is the unicorn. Laura relates to the unicorn because it's different from all the other pieces, just as she feels she is different from all other people. In scene seven, Jim doesn't want to hold the unicorn and Laura says "Go on, I trust you with him. There now- you're holding him gently!" Laura trusts Jim with her unicorn just as she trusts that he won't hurt her. When the horn is broken off the unicorns head Laura isn't as upset as you would expect her to be. She is relieved "Maybe it's a blessing in disguiseÃÂ¡KI'll just imagine he had an operation. The horn was removed to make him feel less freakish!" Without the horn he looks like everyone else. Without the limp Laura looks like everyone else. She wants to be normal, but she has let her handicap drive her away from the rest of society. The props used in this play are a means of escape. For Tom, it's the movies and the fire escape, for Laura, it's the Victrola and her glass animals. Tennessee Williams used these props to portray how the characters wanted to escape from the real world and used escapism as a theme in this play.