The Importance Of Mothers In The Glass Menagerie

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Mothers are undoubtedly the most critical figure in a family’s life. In the charming play The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, a very unusual family takes center stage. The lacking “head” of the clan is Amanda Wingfield. As an older woman abandoned by her husband, she lives trapped in the past, and tries desperately in this play to manipulate her children to how she would like them to be. For her son Tom, the breadwinner, she often finds herself in arguments over staying out late and extracurricular activities. Although her son is a free spirit with a will and desire to live a wild and adventurous life, Amanda stubbornly tries to mold him into the ideal gentleman. Without her previous husband around, he is the only man left she can still…show more content…
Throughout the play, she recalls her glorious days as a younger lady. With her constant descriptions of what would seem to be a glorious southern social life, it is easy to presume she had a satisfying youth. This lifestyle is opposite to Laura’s. Amanda seems to feel as though Laura is missing out on a glorious life, although Laura does enjoy keeping up with her glass figurines. Through the search for a proper suitor, and the attempts for her daughter to attend business school, Amanda begins to lose hope for her daughter to have a “good” life, or becoming a wife of a good man. While she attempts to push Laura to reach her expectations, she is simultaneously trying to reel in her spacey and imaginative son. Although it is not pin-pointed why Amanda’s husband departed, she seems to have an unsettling feeling that Tom may do the same. While Laura is a push over for Amanda to easily control, Tom speaks his mind. This characteristic, paired with his drinking habits, makes her concerned about Tom possibly starting behaving like the man who left her. Amanda is trying to stay attached to her fleeting son who is the breadwinner of the household, but by encouraging gentlemen-like behavior, and never taking interest in his ambitions, Amanda is slowly pushing Tom further and further away from…show more content…
Amanda herself admits to scheming the pathways of life when saying “Is that the future that we have mapped out for ourselves?” (Williams The Glass, p. 1661, scene II), suggesting she has an alternate plan. While it is valid to plan ahead for children, these two are adults. There is only so much future to plan. Now mature, Laura and Tom have their own unique and strong personalities and ways of life, and Amanda, try as she might, cannot change them, as seen in the conclusion of the play. Amanda is so focused on this glorious future of success she imagines, that she does not see the signs that nothing will change in the present. It is ironic, and a victory for Laura and Tom, that her future becomes a disaster and her children get what they have been expecting. Tom left, just as Amanda feared, to have his own future to design, and Laura failed at impressing a suitor, which leaves her exactly where she began, alone (Williams, The Glass). If Amanda paid closer attention to the present, she could have better predicted the actual
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