The Glass Menagerie


“The Glass Menagerie,” written by Tennessee Williams, is a play told from the memory of the narrator Tom Wingfield. It takes place in St. Louis in 1937. The three main characters in the play are Amanda Wingfield, the mother, Laura Wingfield, the sister, and Tom Wingfield, the narrator. In the play Tom is the narrator but does not appear on screen very often. Amanda is on the screen for much of the time and has the most lines. Laura is also on screen for much of the time and is the object of conversation for most of the play. Both Tom and Amanda are looking to find gentlemen callers for their beloved Laura. The question at hand is: who is the main character? The main character is Laura.


Many say that the narrator is commonly the main character because he is the one telling the story. This is true in most cases but not in “The Glass Menagerie.” Amanda is a traditional southern woman who always recollects her stories of her youth when she was pursued by many gentlemen callers. Amanda was a southern belle and she wishes to have Laura be the same in the respect that she is pursued by many gentlemen callers. This however is not the case. Laura is a very shy girl suffering from a medical condition called pleurosis. Laura has a very hard time holding conversations with people, therefore making it impossible for her to attract a gentlemen caller. Tom realizes this and one day while at work he invites his buddy Jim O’Connor over for dinner but fails to mention his sister. This is believed to be set up this way so that Jim has no idea that Laura will be there, and so that Tom can tell his mother that he found a gentlemen caller for Laura.


When the evening finally arrives things start off with an introduction between Jim and Laura, who is forced to the door by her mother. Laura falls sick before dinner and lies on the sofa while the rest eat dinner. Afterwards Amanda tells Jim to bring Laura a drink and to keep an eye on her. The two begin talking and Laura eventually gains confidence. The two engage in a meaningful conversation and reflect their years in high school together. Jim ends up kissing Laura, but then tells her that he is engaged and totally destroys all hope for Laura and Amanda.


The story is told by Tom and stars Amanda, but is based mostly on finding a gentlemen caller for Laura. Laura is the main focus throughout the story. In the beginning Tom talks about Laura, throughout the story Tom is trying to help out Laura, and at the end Tom says he returns and he can’t stop thinking of Laura. The book name, “The Glass Menagerie” is named after the glass set in which Laura owns. Of the three major characters Tom, Amanda and Laura, Laura is the main character.