In what ways is Scene 7 both moving and thought-provoking? Consider the problems facing Tom, Amanda and Laura in Scene 7.

lit24 | Student

Scene 7 is the last scene of the play and is very significant with regard to the character of Laura. Jim the gentleman caller arrives and is entertained and taken good care of by Amanda.

The entire scene is charged with romance,"the air outside becomes pale and luminous as the moon breaks out." and Jim remarks,"candlelight is my favorite kind of light" to which Amanda adds,"that shows you are romantic."

Next Amanda leaves Jim and Laura alone in the parlor in candlelight. This scene "is the climax of her secret life."The secret being she had a crush on him while at high school. In this scene, Jim helps Laura overcome her shyness  and cures her of her inferiority complex and helps her to forget that she is a cripple: "being disappointed is one thing and being discouraged is something else "Jim's smile lights Laura with a warmth and charm which lights her inwardly with altar candles." Finally he dances with her and kisses her on the lips.

But the very next instant he tells her that he is engaged to Betty. For a moment it seems that Laura is going to have another of her  nervous breakdowns but she quickly recovers and confidently presents him with the glass unicorn which he broke when dancing with her. It is a symbolic gesture which proves that Laura has been cured of her inferiority complex.' The scene ends with Amanda comforting Laura and Laura blowing out the candles.

Tom might have deserted his family, but Laura is now confident that she can face life all alone without relying on her "glass menagerie."

Amanda of course is shattered and gives vent to her anger and frustration in the following words to Tom:

"That's right, now that you've (Tom) had us make such fools of ourselves. The effort, the preparations, all the expense! The new floor lamp, the rug, the clothes for Laura! All for what? To entertain some other girl's fiance! Go to the movies, go! Don't think about us, a mother deserted, an unmarried sister who's crippled and has no job! Don't let anything interfere with your selfish pleasure! Just go, go, go-to the movies!"

Tom, however, fails to understand the gravity of his mistake in first not ascertaining whether Jim was already engaged or not before considering him as a suitable match for his sister Laura. This of course is so typical of Tom who has also been careless in not paying the electricity bill on time. Tom the "selfish dreamer"  unable to bear the insults of his mother angrily smashes his glass on the floor and walks out of his home forever.

In the last part of the scene, Tom the narrator informs us what happened to him after he left home and he poignantly ends his account by stating that he has never been able to forget Laura and is constantly "pursued" by memories of her: "Oh, Laura, Laura, I tried to leave you behind me, but I am more faithful than I intend to be!"

Read the study guide:
The Glass Menagerie

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