Laura rushes out the door and startles the rest of the family when she trips and shrieks, but she assures them that she is unharmed, just startled. Amanda asks Tom to bring home gentlemen callers to meet Laura. He is an outgoing and enthusiastic man on whom Laura had a terrible crush in high school. During that time, Laura feels more accepted and less self-conscious. He apologizes because, even though he likes Laura, he is committed to Betty. The school tells her that Laura hadn't attended at all since the first few classes, during which she had been so horribly nervous that she wasn't even capable of hitting the correct keys on the typewriter.
The narrator addresses us from the undated and eternal present, although at the play's first production 1944-5 , Tom's constant indirect references to the violence of the Second World War would have been powerfully current. Tom also hates his job. Tom brings Jim, one of his friends, for the dinner. Amanda is prone to nostalgic reminiscing, and Laura is lost in the dream world of her imagination as she contemplates the light reflecting through her glass figurines. One day, as she is on her way to a social gather, Amanda decides to stop by the school where Laura is supposed to be taking stenography classes. Laura reminds her mother that she is crippled, that her two legs are different lengths, but Amanda insists that she not use that word and that she must develop charm. Lawrence's performance, to my mind this is a great film with superb acting of a kind that's no longer seen.
The nagging, the gentleman caller, Tom's restlessness, and Laura's shyness are all presented in this first scene. He has stayed because of his responsibility for them, but his mother's nagging and his frail sister's idiosyncrasies make the apartment a depressing and oppressive place. In The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams wrote about the struggles of an American family during the Depression-Era. The stories are threadbare from constant repetition, but Tom and Laura let Amanda tell them again, Tom asking her questions as though reading from a script. When she does leave the apartment, she falls. Having Tom narrate the play - and also play the role of himself - as his memories come to life creates a kind of tension in the play because what we are seeing is not exactly what happened, but how Tom remembers it. Amanda has enrolled Laura in business college, but weeks later, Amanda discovers that Laura dropped out after the first few classes because of her debilitating social anxiety.
And to find Laura a husband, she will need to fix the apartment up so that it's suitable for visitors. Amanda sometimes goes to D. Amanda accuses him of lying constantly about going to the cinema, when he is actually getting drunk. The play is his final act of catharsis to purge himself of the memories of his family. Tom attempts to leave, saying that he's late for work, but Amanda continues pestering him about finding a suitor for his sister as he is on his way out. He is outgoing, enthusiastic, and believes in self-improvement.
Tom decides to ask a coworker at the warehouse to dinner one evening. She is more comfortable and less vulnerable in her own world. Her shyness is so extreme that when Jim comes to the door, she pleads for her mother to answer it, and only when her mother refuses to does she reluctantly make herself open the door and awkwardly invite Jim into the house. They have an argument, and the next morning after Tom apologizes, Amanda asks him to find some nice gentleman caller for Laura and to bring him home for dinner. Tom Wingfield, a wannabe poet working at a shoe warehouse, the son of Amanda Wingfield a former Southern belle left by her husband, and the brother of Laura Wingfield, his older sister.
But what is important is that Amanda now believes this story so strongly that the gentlemen callers have become a reality for her. The action of takes place in the Wingfield family's apartment in St. In this memory play, narrator Tom Wingfield who is also a character in the play, tells the story from his memories. Amanda is so stunned that she accuses Tom of deliberately playing a trick on them. Tom serves as both narrator and character, dissolving the present into the past; Williams signals this by exploiting lighting and sound, especially music technologies that were less available to earlier playwrights. He escapes the apartment night after night through movies, drinking, and literature.
Laura's passivity, meanwhile, incurs a tremendous amount of guilt and repressed rage in Tom, who has trouble leaving as long as he thinks of his sister. At the last minute, Laura learns the name of her caller; as it turns out, she had a devastating crush on Jim in high school. Amanda asks whether Laura has ever liked a boy, and Laura admits that she once had a crush on Jim, the high school hero, who sat near her in chorus. Amanda, wearing an ostentatious dress from her glamorous youth, talks vivaciously with Jim throughout the meal. After his departure, Amanda gets angry at Tom for being so irresponsible and bringing Jim even if he is engaged. All the actions of the play are taken from the memory of Tom, the narrator. They are dependent on his wages and as long as he stays with them he feels he can never have a life of his own.
Tom enters the kitchen for breakfast. Tom exhilarates Laura when he pulls out the rainbow-colored scarf and tells her how the magician changed a bowl of goldfish into canaries. Like many coming of age stories, the major conflicts in this play are both internal and external; Tom cannot choose both the future he desires for himself and the future his mother, Amanda Wingfield, desires for him and for Laura. He had gone to movies and wrote poetry at work to escape the reality of living at home. It hits Laura's collection of glass animals and knocks them over, audibly breaking some of them. Tom explains that the play is a memory play and that he is one of the characters in the play. Actually, this search was a search for reality.
Tom sees the trick as symbolic of his life. Meanwhile, Tom is itching to leave the household and seek adventure in the wide open world, instead of being held prisoner by his dependent family and a dead-end job. He made relationships with the symbols and the actions of the characters. She is disappointed that Laura, who wears a brace on her leg and is painfully shy, does not attract any gentlemen callers. One of the instructors informed her that Laura stopped coming to class after the first few days, when she was so anxious that she became physically ill. Although, not as significant as the other symbols, Tom¹s cigarette smoking is one way he tries to relate to the outside world. He becomes the high school hero again when Tom and Laura remember his glory days.
When Tom tells her he is going to see a movie she tells him that she doesn't believe his lies. She does not refer to it as a handicap, but rather as a ³little defect,² that is hardly noticeable. Remnants of the 'Old South' were slowly being replaced by a new America, which included the rise of industrialism. Memory takes a lot of poetic license. One symbol that is used over and over is the fire escape. Many characters struggle with accepting the modernization of the Old South.