Throughout the play "The Glass Menagerie," Tennessee Williams uses glass as a reflection of how the characters' are being trapped by their situations (Capasso).Tom is anxious to leave his mother, because he is a grown man.
Laura only has her glass figurines to keep her busy, and Amanda continues to live in the past instead of dealing with the present. At the end, it is only Tom who is able to move out of the past and into the future. According to Capasso (210), the glass symbolizes a trap in two ways.
First, the word "ménage" in French means "apartment," which is keeping the three characters away from the outside world. Laura is trapped inside her house, because of her self-consciousness. Amanda remains there, because she continues to relive her past, and Tom stays because of the obligation to his family with his father gone. Amanda tries to be a caring mother, but Tom finds her interference in other people's personal lives and constant nagging hard to handle. This is especially true, since he is supporting the family. Laura is a fearful and very bashful girl, who will not take any chances in life. She is also somewhat lame in one leg, and thus she rarely leaves the apartment without being pressured by her mother.
Instead, she uses most of her time taking care of her “glass menagerie,” a collection of fragile little glass animals. They replace her beauty, she believes. The meaning for ménage is "entrapment." The menagerie is a special trap to Laura, because its beauty and simplicity keep her from looking for happiness in the outside world, and she allows herself to be satisfied with the reflection of it. When Jim asks what interests her most, she says, "”Well, I do as I said have my glass collection. .
. .” (Scene 7). She finds it easier and less frightening to live in her glass-animal world. Jim sees the problem for what it is: "You know what I judge to be.