How to get an excellent score on an exam or assignment in the old man’s class:
Prompt: (sample question re: The Glass Menagerie) Fire Escape: Explain the importance in the play and its significance artistically.
C (average) The fire escape shows you that they live in a poor neighborhood that they want to escape from.
B (good) The fire escape is symbolic. It comes up several times in the play. The characters talk on the fire escape. Tom talks to the audience in the beginning from there. Amanda wishes on the moon on the fire escape.
A (excellent) In the stage directions on page 3 Williams explains that the fire escape is a “touch of accidental poetic truth.” He explains that people living in such circumstances long for escape. In Scene 4 Tom loses his key through a crack in the fire escape landing. This suggests that he’s lost or is looking for a ‘key’ to escape his family obligations. Tom and his mother—and later Tom and Jim—talk on the fire escape. The Wingfields—especially Amanda—often refer to the fire escape euphemistically as something more pleasant like a terrace or a porch.