Symbolic illustration of Laura's hands holding a glass unicorn

The Glass Menagerie

by Tennessee Williams
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Assess how Amanda should be considered the main character of the play.

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I think that a case can be made for Amanda to be the main character of the play for a couple of reasons.  The first is that she is the center point of the family.  She is not a peripheral character in the family.  She does her best to hold it together.  She is at the center of Laura's activities, is the driving force behind finding her a suitor, fights with Tom and represents the link to the family's past in terms of the kids' father and her husband.  Her role and her presence in the family can make her be seen as a main character.  She also is critical in terms of thematic development.  Amanda is crucial in the theme that is developed in terms of how individuals see themselves colliding with how they are seen externally.  Amanda's view of herself in the past and trying to reconcile that with what is in the present is something that the other characters experience to a great extent.  Yet, Amanda lives it, embodies it.  She is central to this theme being developed because of how she is viewed throughout the drama.  Finally, I think that Amanda has to be seen as the main character because she suffers some of the most painful elements.  At the very least, Tom leaves.  We know that he has escaped the dysfunctional nature of the family because his reverie allows us to understand the drama.  Laura blows out the candle on her own birthday cake and has come to some level of understanding about herself.  Amanda, though, does not experience any sort of reconciliation on this level.  She is still broken, left with a broken family as well as a broken image of self.  While she might lack the ability to be liked at certain points, it seems to me that her enduring such a condition is what has to make her a central focal point and the central character of the play.  When the glass unicorn is broken, it resembles the other characters and this "deformity" is resolved.  I think that Amanda can be seen as the main character because it is not clear that her deformity will ever enable her to be like others.  It is in this where I think that Amanda becomes Williams' focus, and thus, should become ours.

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