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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Part of the background story on Laura is that she lives in a house where the dominant personalities of Tom and Amanda have overtaken everything else.  Laura is not given much of a chance to express herself given the animosity and intensity of emotions between both Tom and Amanda.  Part of Laura's background is that she is viewed as a means to an end by Amanda, whether as a reflection of the perceived cruelty that life has directed towards her or as a portal to see her own youth.  For his part, Tom is driven by the need to get out that he fails to acknowledge the condition of his sister, instead choosing to focus on his own melancholy.  

It is from this that Laura emerges, displaying a general discomfort around people and a preference for animals or objects.  Laura's own condition is a reflection of the need to find sanctuary away from the harshness of the world of humans and from the humans with whom she lives.  Due to this, Laura has a resilience or a strength that Tom and Amanda lack.  Laura's experiences with the harshness of human beings gives her a strength that emerges as the play continues, reflective of the background of her characterization.