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What role does religious symbolism play in The Glass Menagerie?

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Religious symbols and allusions hover in the background of the play and contribute to its meaning. Amanda regards herself as a Christian. When she sympathizes with the women she talks to about her subscription drive, she calls them "Christian martyrs," which may give a clue to how Amanda sees herself. Laura tells her that when she is disappointed she gets that "awful suffering look on [her] face, like the picture of Jesus' mother in the museum." All Christians, especially suffering ones, await the coming of the savior, and this is the role in which Amanda casts Jim O'Connor. Scene 5, in which Tom breaks the news that Jim is coming for dinner, begins with the legend "Annunciation," a term which refers to the message brought by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary. The person to be redeemed is of course Laura. She is also described in religious terms. According to Williams's production notes, the light that shines on her during the play should have "a peculiar pristine clarity, such as ... more
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