The Glass Menagerie By Tennessee Williams Summary and Analysis Scene 5

Summary

The scene opens with Amanda instructing Tom to comb his hair and not to smoke so much. Tom turns to the audience and tells about the Paradise Dance Hall across the alley and how adventure was to be found in other parts of the world. When Amanda sees the new moon, she makes a wish; this reminds Tom of Amanda's constant wish for a gentleman caller for Laura. He tells her that the gentleman caller is coming tomorrow. Amanda protests that she doesn't have time to get ready, but Tom tells her she shouldn't make a fuss over this boy. After Amanda finds out that his name is O'Connor, she decides to have a salmon loaf. She then inquires if Mr. O'Connor drinks because "old maids are better off than wives of drunkards!" Amanda asks how much money Mr. O'Connor makes a month and decides that eighty-five dollars is just enough for a family man. She is very pleased to find out that he goes to night school and is trying to improve himself.

Tom finally warns Amanda that Mr. O'Connor doesn't yet know about Laura. Amanda thinks he will be glad he was invited to dinner when he sees how pretty and lovely Laura is. Tom tries to make Amanda see that Laura is different from other people. He doesn't want Amanda to expect too much from Laura. When he refers to her as crippled, Amanda reminds him that he is never to use that word. But Tom also means that Laura is different in other ways because "she lives in a world of her own — a world of — little glass ornaments" and old phonograph records. He then leaves to go to the movies. Amanda immediately calls Laura to come wish upon the moon and tells her to wish for "happiness" and "good fortune!"

Analysis

As soon as Tom makes the momentous announcement that a gentleman caller is coming, Amanda begins immediately to make plans. As much as she has harped on the subject to Tom, she then begins to put him through a third degree and begins to find fault with Tom because he doesn't know enough about Jim O'Connor.

Since Tom will be blamed for the evening's failure, we should note that Tom tells her there is no need to make a fuss for Mr. O'Connor. He also emphasizes that he doesn't know about Mr. O'Connor's private life. Thus Amanda's later accusations are falsely made.

Note also Tom's futile attempt to make Amanda look at Laura realistically. She willfully ignores all of Tom's efforts to evaluate Laura realistically. She refuses to allow Tom to refer to Laura as crippled. But as Tom points out, Laura is more than crippled; she is a girl who lives in a world of little glass ornaments and old phonograph records. But Amanda refuses to recognize these and thinks only that this will be the gentleman caller who will marry Laura.

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

Amanda knows Tom’s letter from the Merchant Marine means what?




Quiz