The Glass Menagerie Questions and Answers
by Tennessee Williams

The Glass Menagerie book cover
Start Your Free Trial

In The Glass Menagerie, why did Laura quit business college?

Expert Answers info

Brayan Effertz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2012

write892 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Laura quit business college as she was simply too nervous to cope with the typing course she was taking there. However, she has been pretending to her mother that she has been attending. Amanda only find out by chance, when she visits the college to ask how Laura has been getting on, and is shocked to learn that Laura dropped out weeks earlier. The teacher describes her as ‘a terribly shy little girl’:

Her hands shook so she couldn’t hit the right keys! The first time we gave a speed-test she broke down completely – was sick at the stomach and almost had to be carried into the washroom! After that she never showed up anymore. (Scene 2)

This incident illustrates the extent of Laura’s shyness and difficulty in facing the outer world. She vastly prefers to remain in her own world, or in places which have little to do with everyday concerns – when she has been out, pretending that she is still attending college, she has actually been dividing her time between the zoo, the cinema, and an exotic greenhouse known as the ‘Jewel-box’  – (Scene 2).

Laura’s failed attempts to compete a business course – a ‘fiasco,’ as Amanda later terms it (scene 4) – also affects the course of the plot as it is after this that Amanda becomes ever more set on finding a good husband for her, as she has proved she is unlikely ever to make her own living. 

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial