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What Do We Learn About The Characters And Relationships Of Tom, Amanda and Laura In The First Two Acts of "The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams?

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Introduction

What Do We Learn About The Characters And Relationships Of Tom, Amanda and Laura In The First Two Acts? Throughout the play the three main characters of Tom, Amanda and Laura are portrayed to the audience as three very different people with very different aspirations, hopes and dreams. From the beginning we learn a lot about Tom in his opening speech. Throughout this he uses fresh, sharp language and is constantly switching between tenses. He begins by comparing himself to a magician and describing himself as an illusionist in the form of an answer to an unheard question. He describes the current situation of the world on both a national and personal level and we soon learn that Tom is very concerned with politics and world events and that he has a talent in using language. This is a sharp contrast to Amanda who is introduced us as the audience as soon as the actual play starts and Tom has finished his speech. She immediately begins to 'hassle' Tom on his eating habits, and, as we know that Tom is no longer a child, we see this as very strange and an attempt by Amanda to have some control over him. ...read more.

Middle

in her response to this when she says that she's not expecting any. Here, it is as if the suggestion is often made by Amanda, as Laura's response is quick and concise. Also, when Amanda refers to her past in Blue Mountain, Tom interrupts with, 'I know what's coming'. It looks as if Amanda always brings up this topic just so she can brag about her numerous 'gentleman callers' when she was younger. Tom and Amanda both treat Laura differently. Tom is sympathetic towards Laura and understands her problems; he is sometimes even fairly protective of her. Whether or not it is because of the different views of Laura that Tom and Amanda both have, they treat her completely differently. Amanda, either because of her ignorance of the truth or because of her simple refusal to accept reality, believes that Laura is stunningly beautiful and is extremely capable of living her own, independent life and is shown in her attempts to make Laura go to college. Amanda refuses to accept Laura' own description of herself: 'crippled', and immediately tells her 'not to be silly'. Again this shows Amanda's refusal to see what is happening around her and her unwillingness to emote. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the stage notes of Scene Two Amanda is described as having a 'cheap or imitation...coat' and as carrying an 'enormous black...leather pocketbook'. The appearance of Amanda and the props that she is carrying highlight her obsession with social class and reputation. She is trying to look as if she is slightly upper-class when the reality is that she, like many others, is in a time of economic difficulty. The scene begins with Laura and Amanda's confrontation. Again this highlights the situation that Amanda wants to create for Laura as Laura is supposed to be practicing typewriting when in actual fact she is simply daydreaming. As soon as Amanda enters Laura sits up 'stiffly'. This shows that, although Laura is well into her twenties, she is constantly obeying orders from Amanda and is afraid of the consequences of she disobeys. In the following argument she has with Laura she is very melodramatic and in the end it all revolves around 'her' plans and 'her' social outlook. Overall the three main characters in the play are three stereotypical figures that are still recognizable in modern society. They each have their own views on the world and their own refuges. You learn much from their actions and dialogue and, as a reader; I end up feeling slightly sorry for them all! James Budden ...read more.

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