What affect does Amanda's attitude have on Laura in The Glass Menagerie?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Tennesse Williams's The Glass Menagerie, Laura is dominated by her mother, forced into taking a secretarial class which she quits without telling her mother.  Timid and lacking confidence, Laura retreats into the glass world of her animal menagerie,for she is afraid of the world outside the apartment.  She also becomes very upset when Tom and their mother argue and, then, do not speak to each other.  Laura would like their lives to be suspended and merely continue as they did when she and Tom were younger, for she fears the future.

When her mother insists that Tom bring home "a gentleman caller,"  Laura panics, but Jim, who was acquainted with her in high school, quickly allays her fears. She feels almost normal in Jim's company; when the unicorn's horn breaks, Laura gives the "normal" horse to Jim. Sadly, though, there is no future with him for Laura since he already has a steady girlfriend.  So, when Jim departs, Laura does not dare look at her mother, instead crounching behind the vitrola to wind it up.  With her mother, Laura is trapped in illusion.

lit24 | Student

Amanda, is Tom's and Laura's mother. Her husband has deserted the family, consequently throughout the play she is stressed out at having to make both ends meet. Her only aim in life is "success and happiness for my precious children!" (sc.5).  She does her utmost  to keep Tom the only source of financial  support under her control but doesn't succeed and she is left in the darkness at the end of the play.

Amanda's main concern is about the future of her crippled daughter Laura. She wants to secure the financial security of her daughter by making her into a typist cum secretary. When she doesn't succeed in that endeavor, she tries to get her married and settled down in life but fails to do so.

Regarding Amanda's religious faith she is most probably a member of the liberal Episcopalian Church which did not object to its members enjoying a hedonistic lifestyle.Amanda's religious faith, if at all she has any, proves ineffective in curing Laura of her inferiority complex.

mkcapen1 | Student

In the play "The Glass Menagerie" Amanda is Laura's mother.  She is a demanding woman who has unrealistic expectations on her daughter.  She enrolls her daughter in a secretarial school.  Laura, her daughter, is unable to face people as she is extremely shy and lacks confidence.  Instead, she goes to the library or other places pretending to be in school.  Her other finds out that she has been doing this by accident. 

Amanda tries to pressure Laura into liking and flirting with the friend that Tom brings home for dinner.  She makes her get dressed for a date even though Tom says he just invited a friend over for supper.  She places pressure on Laura to woo the guy.  Laura is very mentally fragile just like the animals that she keeps in the glass menagerie.

The man comes to dinner and Amanda pushes Laura on him.  He is very nice to her, but he begins to recognize that he ahs been set up to be her date.  He tells Laura he has a girlfriend.  The incident results in Laura having her glass menagerie broken and Laura breaks apart as well.


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The Glass Menagerie

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