I have always thought that the photograph of the father was actually the physical manifestation of Amanda's concern for appearance as well as her detached perception of reality. In addition, the picture is proudly displayed not only in an apartment that is run down, but of the man responsible for Amanda's, Tom's, and Laura's sad existences. In other words, no matter how hard Amanda talks about her past, or how many movies Tom attends, or Laura's escape into her glass collection their truth is always present. For example, Amanda carries on about all of her 'gentlemen callers' as a young girl, but marries a man who who abandoned her and her children. Tom is expected to financially provide for the family that belongs to his father which frustrates him to no end, and Laura is incapable of having any sort of romantic relationship. For me, the picture is symbolic of their truth...it's the essence of their reality.