What qualities make Laura a sympathetic character in "The Glass Menagerie"?

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parkerlee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

She is thoughtful and considerate of others: When Tom complains about hearing Amanda tell her 'seventeen gentleman callers story' over and over again, Laura just smiles and chides him to let her anyway since she 'loves to tell it.' By this she shows she has respect for what is important to others and not just what is priority for herself.

She is sincere and non-manipulative: When Amanda gives Laura the bra padding to wear to fill out her dress, Laura doesn't want to wear it, saying she doesn't want to make out to be something she isn't. Amanda's attitude is that women are supposed to use their sexual appeal to their advantage and that men even expect to be "trapped."

She is generous and unresentful in the face of failure: When Jim explains about his sweetheart, Laura is heartbroken but doesn not "blame" him. When he accidentally breaks the horn off the unicorn, her favourite ornament, she presses it into his hand, telling him to keep it as a souvenir of their meeting. She harbours no hard feelings over this "misunderstanding" whereas Amanda (once the door is shut) flies into a bona fide temper tantrum, venting off most of her steam at Tom.

pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Laura is a very sympathetic character, first, because she is crippled, she walks with a limp.  She lives a very isolated ', solitary life, content to polish her glass collection.  She patiently deals with the constant nagging of her mother who fears for her future.

Laura is the peace-maker of the family, trying her best to help her brother to get along with their mother.  And, finally, after Jim O'Connor comes to the house for dinner, and she actually has a wonderful time talking, dancing and sharing an intimate kiss with him, the reader feels a great deal of sympathy for her when she finds out that he is engaged to be married.

At the end of the play, when Tom abandons the family, the reader feels very sorry for Laura.

laurto | Student

She has a disability, which makes you feel bad for her. When she talks about her experiences in high school, you can't help but feel bad for her. She's shy and sincere and she's described as beautiful.