Discuss Amanda's religious faith and Jim's advice to Laura and their effectiveness in Scene 7.

lit24 | Student

Scene 7, the last scene in the play is perhaps the most important scene in the play because it is in this scene that Laura is finally cured of her inferiority complex and is freed from her dependence on her collection of glass dolls. After dinner is over and the lights have gone out because Tom has forgotten to pay the electricity bill, Amanda leaves Jim and Laura alone in the parlor in candlelight.

This scene "is the climax of her (Laura's) secret life."The secret being she had a crush on Jim while at high school. In this scene, Jim helps Laura overcome her shyness  and cures her of her inferiority complex and helps her to forget that she is a cripple: "being disappointed is one thing and being discouraged is something else."  "Jim's smile lights Laura with a warmth and charm which lights her inwardly with altar candles." Finally he dances with her and kisses her on the lips.

But the very next instant he tells her that he is engaged to Betty. For a moment it seems that Laura is going to have yet another one of her  nervous breakdowns but she quickly recovers and confidently presents him with the glass unicorn which he broke when dancing with her. It is a symbolic gesture which proves that Laura has been cured of her inferiority complex.' The scene ends with Amanda comforting Laura and Laura blowing out the candles.

Tom might have deserted his family, but Laura is now confident that she can face life all alone without relying on her "glass menagerie."

Regarding Amanda's religious faith she is most probably a member of the liberal Episcopalian Church which did not object to its members enjoying a hedonistic lifestyle. After dinner is over and the lights have gone out Amanda asks Jim to keep company with Laura who is alone in the parlor. She gives him a lighted candle on a misshapened candle stand which once was placed on the altar of the church of the Heavenly Rest before the church was struck down by lightning. A puritanical revivalist preacher called Gypsy Jones with strong evangelising tendencies pronounced that the Episcopalian Church was struck down by God as punishment because its members gave card parties.

Amanda's religious faith, if at all she has any, proves ineffective in curing Laura of her inferiority complex and preventing Tom from leaving home forever. It is Jim's warmth and affection for Laura which he communicates to her by kissing her and dancing with her which breathes self confidence into Laura and enables her to face life boldly and courageously.

Read the study guide:
The Glass Menagerie

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