In scene 2 of The Glass Menagerie, how are Amanda's hopes elevated?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Scene 2 of The Glass Menagerie Amanda Wingfield's hopes are elevated shortly after, literally, having lost all hopes in her daughter, Laura. 

Laura had just been forced to confess to her mother that she left Rubicam's Business college due to her social anxiety. This means that all of Amanda's hopes for Laura to fend for herself and become independent someday, are now null. 

Right after, Amanda keeps asking Laura questions, perhaps in hopes of finding out what else could be wrong with her daughter. This is when Amanda finally asks Laura if she had ever liked any boy. Amanda is trying to somewhat make a connection between herself and Laura. Amanda used to be quite the Southern Belle, which is why she cannot really understand Laura. However, when Laura responds nervously that she had actually really liked a boy once, Amanda's hopes come up. 

This is because Amanda, in reality, desperate for a change for her daughter. Who knows? Perhaps, now that she knows that Laura has the capability of liking boys, Amanda can find a way to guide her daughter towards that direction. 

AMANDA: Girls that aren't cut out for business careers usually wind up married to some nice man. [Gets up with a  spark of revival.] Sister, that's what you'll do !

LAURA: But, Mother

AMANDA: Yes ? [Crossing to photograph.]

LAURA [in a tone of frightened apology]: I'm - crippled !

AMANDA: Nonsense ! Laura, I've told you never, never to use that word. Why, you're not crippled, you just have a little defect - hardly noticeable, even! When people have some slight disadvantage like that, they cultivate other things to make up for it - develop charm - and vivacity and - charm! That's all you have to do ![She turns again to the photograph.] One thing your father had plenty of - was charm!

Hence, this disclosure motivates Amanda's new "project" with Laura: to guide and groom her towards marriage. Now, all that she needs is a gentleman caller, just like the ones Amanda used to receive when she was young. This is a new hope for Amanda: maybe, she would think, Laura is not a lost case, after all. We know that this will be the catalyst to the final chapter of Tom's life with his mother and sister, and the final chapter in Amanda's life-long efforts to save Laura's social life. 

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The Glass Menagerie

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