Amanda Glass Menagerie Essay

Amanda Wingfield - Laura and Tom’s mother. A proud, vivacious woman, Amanda clings fervently to memories of a vanished, genteel past. She is simultaneously admirable, charming, pitiable, and laughable.

Read an in-depth analysis of Amanda Wingfield.

Laura Wingfield - Amanda’s daughter and Tom’s older sister. Laura has a bad leg, on which she has to wear a brace, and walks with a limp. Twenty-three years old and painfully shy, she has largely withdrawn from the outside world and devotes herself to old records and her collection of glass figurines.

Read an in-depth analysis of Laura Wingfield.

Tom Wingfield - Amanda’s son and Laura’s younger brother. An aspiring poet, Tom works at a shoe warehouse to support the family. He is frustrated by the numbing routine of his job and escapes from it through movies, literature, and alcohol.

Read an in-depth analysis of Tom Wingfield.

Jim O’Connor - An old acquaintance of Tom and Laura. Jim was a popular athlete in high school and is now a shipping clerk at the shoe warehouse in which Tom works. He is unwaveringly devoted to goals of professional achievement and ideals of personal success.

Mr. Wingfield - Amanda’s husband and Laura and Tom’s father. Mr. Wingfield was a handsome man who worked for a telephone company. He abandoned his family years before the action of the play and never appears onstage. His picture, however, is prominently displayed in the Wingfields’ living room.

Amanda and Laura

Amanda’s larger-than-life personality contrasts greatly with Laura’s shy demeanor. Amanda cannot understand Laura’s self-consciousness and has expectations regarding her daughter that Laura is unable to meet. Because of this, she sets up Laura for failure, whether it is in business school or in relationships.

An argument can be made that Amanda is being cruel to push Laura so hard, but it is hard to see that she has any other choice given her own personality and her fears regarding her daughter. Her biggest worry is what will happen to Laura as she and her daughter get older. She doesn’t want Laura to be reduced to relying on the grudging kindness of relatives in order to survive. She wants Laura to have a secure home and family of her own. Most importantly, she does not want Laura to end up in the situation Amanda herself is in.

By trying to find a suitable husband for Laura, Amanda is trying to have a “do over" with her own failed relationship. If she can find a good man for Laura so that her daughter will not follow in her footsteps and end up alone, Amanda will find a kind of redemption. That is why the announcement that Jim has a fiancée is such a disappointment to her.


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