Compare Laura from The Glass Menagerie and Nora from A Doll's House.

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Laura Wingfield is the physically challenged daughter of Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie. While she suffers from a minor physical deformity that makes her walk a bit awkwardly, it is her mother's overbearing personality and over protective ways that make Laura even more aware and self-conscious about her disability.

Laura is extremely shy and insecure. Her lack of social exposure makes her immature to life, in general, which is what leads her to attach herself to the past. She still fantasizes about her high school crush, and she spends her day inside, listening to records and tending to her glass menagerie. Such menagerie is a symbol of Laura's ego and her mindset in general: She is fragile and unique. She needs to be treated with a lot of care not to break the little foundation that keeps her sane.

Nora, from A Doll's House is a polar opposite of Laura Wingfield when it comes to personality types. Nora is an extrovert and a seemingly cheerful wife who aims to please everyone and abides by the roles of wife and mother exactly how her Victorian society expects her to fulfill. This makes her quite different from Laura.

However, Nora also has a kind of handicap that prevents her from fully expressing who she really is: her social status as a woman.

While this type of issue does not correlate to Laura's physical handicap, the two women do share one thing in common: someone or something ELSE dictates their lives and prevents them from flourishing to their fullest potential, in part because they are women and unable to take control of their own lives.

In Laura's case, her mother cripples her further by not understanding her true needs. Amanda does not get that Laura has a crippling case of social anxiety which stops her in her tracks each time she tries to do anything.

Rather than work around this, Amanda pushes Laura to lead a "normal" life, not knowing that she is actually making her problem even more intense. Therefore, Laura is essentially trapped inside her home, living in a world of her own. She is stuck in the past.

In Nora's case, her social status as a woman already prevents her from doing a lot of things that could have simplified her life, such as being able to secure a loan to save her husband's life and pay his medical bills. Furthermore, her own husband expects her to act like some little entertaining object that will also fulfill a role of wife and mother.

Both women are trapped in their homes, fulfilling roles expected of them as females. Sadly, the people who have leading roles in their lives—Nora's husband and Laura's mother—attempt to control the women, not with malice but supposedly with love, by pushing them to do things that neither Nora nor Laura are prepared for or interested in doing. All this happens just for the sake of making both Nora and Laura stick to a social "role" that they are expected to comply with as women.

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