The Glass Menagerie

fire escape ?

what does it stand for ?

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There is a sense of urgency throughout the play. The fire escape is used more than the stairs because it becomes a symbol of the fires of frustration and discontent that the characters feel. They want to escape the small world, which they think is closing in on them. Both the father and Tom feel this need to escape. At the beginning of the play Tom describes the fire escape:

The apartment faces an alley and is entered by a fire-escape, a structure whose name is a touch of accidental poetic truth, for all of these huge buildings are always burning with the slow and implacable fires of human desperation.