In The Glass Menagerie, what does Amanda hope for Laura?

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Amanda hopes that Laura will get married to a nice man and settle down. She imagines all manner of gentleman callers for her and is thrilled when one does finally materialize, in the shape of Tom and Laura's old schoolmate, Jim O'Connor. However, things do not end the way she hoped, as Jim turns out to be already engaged.

What Amanda really tries to do is to mould Laura in her own image, as a popular and romantically-inclined young woman. Amanda endlessly harks back to her own days when she was a Southern Belle and a resounding social success, with a string of gentleman callers always at hand. This is the way she would like Laura to be. However, she wilfully ignores the fact that Laura is the complete opposite of what she was as a girl. Laura is painfully, indeed almost pathologically shy, who neither wants nor expects gentleman callers. She lives in her own little world, quite apart from society. Amanda has to admit she cannot fathom what kind of person Laura is:

I don't understand you, Laura. You couldn't be satisfied with just sitting home, yet whenever I try to arrange something for you, you seem to resist it. (scene 6)

Amanda does not realise, or cannot accept, that Laura is indeed content with staying at home, and suffers whenever she has to venture out into the world at large. However, it is true that she does respond warmly to Jim during his visit, and is devastated when it turns out that he cannot be with her after all.

Amanda often comes across as domineering in trying to arrange Laura's future. It is not surprising, though, that, as a mother, that she wants to see her daughter settled. She really just wants a happy, fulfilling life for her.

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