Do you think Amanda is a good mother? Why?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is no doubt that Amanda Wingfield is a loving and caring mother to her grown children, Tom and Laura, in Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie.

Amanda is a woman who has had to adapt to times that have changed dramatically in her life. Her husband leaves her with two children whom she has had to raise, with little to no knowledge, until their adulthood.

Somehow, Amanda's lack of maturity and the trauma of being left by her husband has left her stuck in the past. She still believes that her daughter, Laura, is a young girl sure to begin to receive "gentlemen callers" (like Amanda did, in her own youth). She also treats her eldest, her son Tom, as a youth who needs direction (which he is), but still allows him to be "the man of the house" in a very disparate way.

On and all, it all occurs as a result of Amanda's desperate attempts at some sort of normality that would resemble better times that are now gone.

If Amanda were not a good mother, she would not worry at all about Laura's well-being and independence. Instead, she continuously tells her that Laura's limp is not something to be ashamed of, and she even registers her in a vocational program for typists.

When it comes to Tom, Amanda is indeed worried about him and her nagging is only a symptom of that preoccupation. Again, had Amanda been a bad mother, she would have lived in oblivion.

AMANDA: But, why—why, Tom—are you always so restless? Where do you go to, nights?

TOM: I—go to the movies.

AMANDA: Why do you go to the movies so much, Tom?

TOM: I go to the movies because—I like adventure. Adventure is something I don’t have much of at work, so I go to the movies.

AMANDA: But, Tom, you go to the movies entirely too much!

TOM: I like a lot of adventure.

Although it almost looks like she is, the reality is that Amanda is not oblivious at all of the dysfunctional nature of her family: She simply denies that her family is any different than any other. Amanda, therefore, is actually a good woman with excellent motherly instincts. However, her own traumas prevent her from repeating the same problems from the past onto her children's futures.