Glass Menagerie. Scene 3-5. Summary for Scene 1&2. Billy. Scene 1. At a dining room Amanda repeatedly tells Tom to chew his food Laura wanted to fetch something but was stopped by her mother: “ I want you to stay fresh and pretty---for gentlemen callers! ”
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Angus and Thomas
Where can we sense memory’s emotional distortion of truth?
Is he reliable?
A character also a narrator
→ points out the tension between truth and memory's distortion of truth
→ Intensifies the relation between Wingfields and clearly shows their personalities
→ Amanda’s nostalgia for her past and demands for the family’s future
→ Laura’s social and physical handicaps
Who’s in charge of this?
1. The conflict between Amanda and Tom.
2. Laura(shrilly). “My glass! -menagerie…”
3. The role of peacemaker between Amanda and Tom (for the follow-up effect after the first conflict. (Scene 4)
→Tom is always thinking of superior things, quite unsatisfied with the status quo, especially for his mother.
→Amanda affords him no privacy.
→She also arbitrarily returns his book, to which she calls a kind of “filth”.
Amanda:What is the matter with you, you-big-big-IDIOT!
Tom: Look-I’ve got no thing, no single thing-
Tom: In my life here that I can call my OWN! Everything is-
Tom laughs wildly when Amanda is speaking…
Amanda: …BUT I WON’T ALLOW SUCH FILTH BROUGHT INTO MY HOUSE!No, No,no,no,no,no!
Tom: House, house! Who pays rent on it, who makes a slave of himself to-
(He means himself, the one who pays the rent)
Tom: No, I won’t hear more. I’m going out!
Amanda: You come right back in-
Tom: Out, out ,out! Because I’m-
Laura (desperately): Tom!
Amanda: I think you’ve been doing things that you’re ashamed of. That’s why you act like this. I don’t believe that you go every night to the movies. … Oh, I can picture the way you’re doing down there. Moping, doping, because you’re in no condition.
Tom (wildly): No, I am in no condition!
→Amanda thinks Tom’s misbehavior is endangering his job and, hence, the family’s security.
Tom: Listen! You think I’m crazy about the warehouse? (He bends fiercely toward her slight figure.) You think I’m in love with the Continental Shoemakers? You think I want to spend fifty-five years down there in that-…Every time you come in yelling that God damn “Rise and Shine!” “Rise and Shine!”I say to myself “How lucky dead people are!” But I get up. I go! ...For sixty-five dollars a month I give up all that I dream of doing and being ever! And you say self-self’s all I ever think of. Why, listen, if self is what I thought of, Mother, I’d be where he is-GONE! (pointing to father’s picture)…
Tom says: You ugly-babbling old-witch…
→He passionately expresses his hatred for the factory, and seems to envy the dead people for Amanda’s morning slogan’s sake.
→He also says how he has abandoned his dreams to work day after day for them. And if he is exactly a selfish person as Amanda claims, he would have deserted them long ago.
‧She desperately tries to seize his son, whom she considered as the backbone of great importance to both the future and present, in the family.
→Therefore she may unintentionally ignore her son’s feelings.
‧When Tom starts past her (for he wants to leave immediately), Amanda grabs his arm.
→She fears to lose again- first her husband, now the son.
‧Amanda is willful in doing what she deems as righteous.
→She presumptuously returns his book by the insane (in her opinion)Mr. Lawrence.
Have you noticed Laura’s existence in this conflict? There is only one line.
→Laura’s painful shyness and silence is completely shown.
Tom accidentally breaks her glass menagerie, and seems to say something to Laura but couldn’t.
→Like these fragile, beloved glass animals, Laura is also delicate, flighty.
→Laura’s first response to her broken treasure is sorrow, not anger.
→Tom’s speechlessness toward Laura may suggest his own self-contradiction, and Laura’s pathetic personality.
→Both Amanda and Tom instantly show their care for her.
→Why Laura becomes a successful peacemaker?
Through analyzing the conflicts
Amanda, who has a quite traditional upbringing, is from a prominent Southern family. But things have changed- everything she was once taught to value is now with a wholly new aspect. She does indeed suffer from this significant change, of economic and social status.
We can perceive that Amanda is still sticking to the old ways, about genteel manner and values.
‧Amanda is seemingly quite demanding and dominant, yet we should not forget her love and willingness to sacrifice for her children.
Before the quarrel between Amanda and Tom, she is working on subscription sales. What for? In fact, she is preparing for Laura’s marriage without much complaint. Due to the sharp turn of her life, which has alienated her from modern society, hardships are expected in her engagements with people. But she still does the hard work, with strange confidence.
‧Amanda’s Psychological Defects
Throughout the conflicts, we see that her perspective and values are different from Tom’s.
→Her selflessness somehow brings a sense of guilt upon Tom and Amanda, for their selfishness. That is, when Amanda and Tom are in embarrassment, she becomes strangely active to recover the family bond.
→In this play, she is the one who never hurts anyone. She really cares for other- she cries for Tom’s unhappiness.