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Tea and Sympathy revolves around Tom Lee, the main character. Tom Lee attends a New England all-boys prep school, where he is constantly ridiculed and bullied for not behaving in a 'masculine' manner. Unlike his colleagues, Tom hates meaningless coitus and violence. He prefers music and theatre. In terms of friends, he has only one- Laura Reynolds, who is the housemaster's wife. He confides in her his fears and thoughts and slowly begins to fall in love with her. In turn, she protects Tom and defends him when his classmates accuse him of being gay. The reader sympathizes with Tom because they learn how cruel society can be when one doesn't conform. Even Tom's father confronts him and tells him to act like a man and stop embarrassing himself.

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