Symbolic illustration of Laura's hands holding a glass unicorn

The Glass Menagerie

by Tennessee Williams

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

The Glass Menagerie by Tom's girlfriend when she arrives at the apartment and Laura becomes very nervous. He also brings his friend, Jim O'Connor, over for dinner.

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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.

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