Symbolic illustration of Laura's hands holding a glass unicorn

The Glass Menagerie

by Tennessee Williams
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Explain how Amanda deceives herself in Scene 5 of The Glass Menagerie  by Tennessee Williams.  

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In Scene 5 of The Glass Menagerie, a drama about those who hide their disappointments in illusion, Amanda joins Tom on the fire-escape landing, sitting upon a newspaper "as if she were settling into a swing on a Mississippi veranda."  When Tom points out the moon, Amanda speaks with Southern charm as she describes the moon as a "little silver slipper of a moon."  She wishes upon the moon for success and happiness for her children.  And, when Tom informs her that there will be a gentleman caller, Amanda is ecstatic; to reflect the magnitude of Amanda's feelings, the stage directions read, "The annunciation is celebrated with music."

Immediately, Amanda plans what she must do.  As she combs Tom's hair she asks about the young man who will come to dinner, telling him "The last thing I want for my daughter's a boy who drinks!"  She then asks about his job and his salary as though Laura is already betrothed. When Tom accuses her of being premature, Amanda retorts,

"You are the only young man that I know of who ignores the fact that the future become the present, the present the past, and the past turns into everlasting regret if you don't plan for it."

And, when Tom reminds Amanda that Laura is crippled, she refuses to have her call her that, saying Laura is strange in a good way.  Moreover, it seems more that Amanda is planning for herself, not Laura.  She speaks of slippers as though Laura is Cinderella and her prince is coming.  Deluding herself with elegant phrases reminiscent of the charming Old South and pretending that the visitor is a gentleman caller for Laura when Tom has explained that Jim is not aware that he is coming to meet Laura, Amanda acts as though she is still the pampered Southern lady, not a single mother of a St. Louis tenement.

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