Especially symbolic is Laura's fall when descending the steps to do a chore for her mother, after leaving the security of the apartment. This fall symbolizes Laura's inability to function in society and the outside world. For Amanda, the fire escape is symbolic of her hopes and dreams--hopes and dreams that a gentleman caller will arrive to marry her daughter and leave her well supported. This is the way Jim comes into the apartment, at the time when Amanda's hopes have been peaked. It is symbolic that Laura does not want to open the door when Jim arrives. It shows her reluctance to let a messenger from the world of reality, symbolized by Jim, invade the comfortable non-existence of the apartment, and her insecurity in dealing with the outside world.
Another recurring symbol in the story is that of the glass menagerie itself. This represents Laura's fragility. The first time the menagerie is mentioned in any detail in a symbolic manner is when Tom and Amanda have a heated argument near the beginning of the play. Tom ends it by calling Amanda an "ugly babbling old witch", and struggles to put his jacket on, intent on leaving. When he cannot put the coat on properly, he becomes frustrated wi