In the play ‘the glass menagerie’, Amanda Wingfield is Tom’s and Laura’s mother. Amanda is a southern woman who got abandoned by her husband. During the most parts of the play, she spends her time reminiscing about her past…
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The Glass Menagerie
Amanda gets represented by two symbols in the play, the yellow dress and bathrobe. The two represent Amanda’s reminiscence of her love for her long gone past. Amanda’s reminiscent of her past provides a sharp contrast with her present reality. The past provided her a wonderful experience in comparison to her present where she is an abandoned wife and mother to her two children (Williams 43). Amanda still loves her husband even though it was cruel of him to abandon her and their children. Whenever she puts on her bathrobe she often looks at her husband’s portrait. She finds it hard to put her past behind her. Her obsession with her past is further evident when she constantly keeps reminding Tom and Laura of that single Sunday afternoon at the blue mountain. When Jim calls on the Wingfield’s family house, she finds Amanda dressed in the same girlish frock she had worn when she met her husband. She entertains Jim as when she entertained her gentleman callers in the past. She chose to live in her past. She further hopes that Jim is not handsome as Mr. Wingfield was because he won her heart in a second. She hopes that Tom can stop smoking, getting drunk, and have manners when chewing his food while at the dinner table. Amanda’s apartment house also reveals her detachment from her reality. The apartment symbolizes her illusive world. She does not pay rent for her house yet it appears as though the house belongs to her. In the house, she has full possession and control of her children who cannot escape from her (Williams 65). She controls everything and everyone in the house. She knows when its appropriate to play music, dismiss people from the table, and even advices on how to chew food properly. The house offers her perfect illusive world. Amanda wishes her children success, happiness, and luck in their future lives, but she lives a life full of illusion and based on her past. She symbolizes the people who are utterly detached from their reality. Jim symbolizes the past gentleman callers that Amanda always reminisced about. Jim O’Connor was a high school friend to both Tom and Laura. He got brought to the Wingfield’s family apartment as a gentleman caller by Tom. He worked in a shoe warehouse, but has aspirations for more in life (Williams 50). He comes into the play as Amanda’s and Laura’s outside connection to the world. He finds Laura as a unique and special woman even though he is engaged to a lady called Betty. He takes night school classes, which further symbolize his aspirations to attain more in life. He is not complacent or content with just becoming a worker at a shoe warehouse. Jim was popular in high school as a famous athlete and was a hero. However, he did not turn out to become great in life out of high school. As a character, Jim is symbolic. He enters the lives of the Wingfield’s and manages to transform their lives. He helps Laura to become more open and confident about her life. When Jim accidentally breaks Laura’s glass unicorn, it symbolizes him breaking Laura free of her captivity to the unicorn. Jim had earlier pointed out to Laura that unicorns had become extinct in the modern world and were lonesome due to their difference with other horses. When Jim dances with Laura it presents a new normalcy to Laura’s life. It makes Laura to cut across as any other normal girl. When Jim breaks the unicorn top accidentally, it
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