Questions About the Glass Menagerie and Answers

Topics: The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams Pages: 8 (3375 words) Published: August 25, 2013
The Glass Menagerie – Tennessee Williams
Describe the character of Amanda… How does she behave and how has her life changed (present/past)? Amanda Wingfield is Laura’s and Tom’s mother. When she was young, she lived in the South of America where there were lots of plantations. In the past, South America was the aristocratic environment per excellence and Amanda comes from an aristocratic background. She has great memories of her youth. She really liked living there and she can’t stop talking about her great moments there. She completely idealizes her past. It seems as if the Old South is a lost Paradise. Her current life is quite a disappointment for her. She doesn’t live in a rich neighborhood. She lives in a building in Saint Louis. Her husband left her and she has to raise her two children on her own. Her family life is quite complicated: Laura is crippled and lives in a world of her own. She found a refuge with her glass menagerie. She is very shy and lacks self-confidence. Tom is bohemian and quarrels a lot with his mother. Amanda is very authoritarian, bossy and rigid and he doesn’t want to let her control his life. She is also very conservative. She can’t eat until they say grace. She comes from a Christian background. She can’t remain silent. She does all the talking. In the first scene, when they are eating together, she tells her son how to eat, that he should chew. She is also always talking about a specific episode: Blue Moutain. It’s the place in the South where she met her gentleman callers. She is so proud that she received 17 gentlemen callers, some of them who became great men, but she chose their father who left. And she idealizes that moment with the gentlemen callers. She lives in a world of illusion. She thinks that several gentlemen callers will come to see Laura. Actually, she acts like a mother. She wants their children happiness. When Laura tells her that she shouldn’t expect gentlemen callers, Amanda doesn’t understand. She says to her: You must be joking! There must have been a flood, a hurricane… When Tom tells her she shouldn’t expect too much of Laura because she’s crippled, Amanda doesn’t agree. She forbids the use of the word crippled. She doesn’t want to face the facts. She feels that Laura is different but that’s all in her advantage. She even adds that the gentleman caller who comes will thank his lucky stars after having met her daughter. When Tom announces her that a colleague of his will come to dinner, Amanda is so happy. She makes Laura beautiful and when Jim arrives, Amanda makes such a fuss. She hosts him like she used to in the South. She puts on her old yellow dress she wore at the time in Blue Mountain. She practically sells Laura to Jim. She tells him that she is very domestic and embellish the truth. Obviously her character and her reactions are linked with the change she went through in her life. Sometimes she is rigid. She sounds foolish and cruel at times. For instance, she tells her son that he’s eloquent as an oyster. When Laura tells her that she is sick and that she cannot go to the door in order to host Tom and his friend Jim, her mother says to her “I am sick too - of your nonsense! Why can’t you and your brother be normal people? Fantastic whims and behavior!”. Nevertheless, She can be tender. Her husband left. She worries for the the future of the family. She worries about her son. She is afraid that he leaves the house like his father. She also worries about Laura. She doesn’t want her to repeat the same mistake as hers, marrying a handsome guy coming from a different social class and who tends to drink.

Explain Tom inside and outside the play…
Tom Wingfield is at the same time the narrator of the play and a character in it. Outside the play, he’s the narrator. What he narrates is what is happening inside the play. Everything he narrates comes from his memory. He insists on the fact that it is a memory play. There is something novelistic about this play....
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