The Glass Menagerie Study Questions Scene 1-8

The play begins with a long and detailed set of stage directions. What words and phrases in the first sentence indicate that the Wingfield apartment is not a desirable place to live?
It’s a lower middle class, a vast hive-like, and it’s overcrowded

What does the apartment face and how is it entered, according to the second sentence?
Faces an alley, and is entered by a fire escape

Who is the narrator of the play? In what sense does he serve a double role?
Tom is the narrator, and he is also a character in the play

Who are the other characters in the play? Which “character” appears only in the photograph?
Amanda, Laura, Tom, Jim, and the father is the only “character” that appears in a photo

Discuss this play as a memory play. What makes it a memory play? Provide evidence for you answer.
Basically Tennessee Williams wrote this as a memory during his childhood life. Tennessee almost resembles Tom and like how Tom struggle with things in his life, Tennessee experience the same as well. Tom is close to Laura, just like how Tennessee is close to his sister as well.

What does Jim symbolize according to the narrator’s opening comments?
A gentleman caller and a emissary

Why does Tom say there is a fifth character in the play?
Because there is a photo of his father

What do we discover about Tom’s life at home in the first scene? Provide specific examples to support your answer.
Tom has a stressful life, and Tom doesn’t seem to get along with Amanda, his mother. He still has a caring towards Laura.

What do we learn about Laura? How is Amanda portrayed?
Laura is potentially disabled, shy, and controlled by Amanda. Amanda keeps Laura safe and stable, making Laura completely trapped.

What discovery about Laura angers Amanda at the beginning of scene 2?
Laura drops out of business school, Rubicam Business College.

As Amanda comes up the fire escape, Laura’s actions are described. What are these actions and what do they reveal about her?
Laura is actually polishing her glass collections. As Amanda comes up the fire escape, Laura immediately stops what she’s doing and pretends practicing her typing. It shows that Laura is quite panicky and afraid of Amanda.

How can Amanda’s behavior during the first part of the scene by characterized?
Amanda is seen upset and angry

What has Laura done during school hours?
Walking around the park or other areas such as stores.

Why is Amanda upset about Laura’s failure in school?
Amanda is upset about the money that was paid for college and for Laura to work up to a degree

What is Amanda’s decision about Laura’s future?
For Laura to get married

What is revealed about Mr. Wingfield in this scene?
Basically he was a charming man that cared for Amanda, but then he ends up taking off.

How is Jim described in this scene?
A nice many, nice voice, and very successful.

Laura continually tries to avoid the unpleasant reality of Amanda’s conversation. How does she do this?
She plays the music record to ignore Amanda’s comments.

What does Amanda’s obsession become in Scene 3?
Finding a gentleman caller

What does Amanda do about this obsession?
She gets Tom to bring home a gentleman caller

What do Tom and Amanda argue about?
About Tom going out late at night

Why does Amanda believe that Tom is doing things he’s ashamed of?
Amanda knows that Tom is lying and that Tom is basically going somewhere else besides the movies.

How does Tom respond to Amanda’s assertion that he is jeopardizing his future?
He potentially blames Laura and Amanda and that they’re keeping him from doing things that he can’t do.

What happens as Tom leaves for the movies?
He ends up arguing with Amanda.

At the end of Scene 3, Tom hurls his coat. What damages does he do?
He breaks Laura’s glass menageries

What do Tom’s actions reveal about him at the end of this scene?
Tom feels guilty and that he wants out, though he still cares for Laura

How does Tom show his desire for independence in this scene?
Tom definitely wants out, a desire to be free.

“Scene 3 consists largely of a quarrel between Tom and Amanda, but they are not the true focus of the scene.” Explain how this statement can be supported by evidence from the scene.
It basically shows a lot of arguments that occur between Tom and Amanda, and the action that Tom does when frustrated.

When does Tom return from the movies?
Tom returns 5 A.M. in the morning.

In addition to watching movies, what stage show does he tell Laura he has seen?
The Malvolio Magic show

Why does this intrigue Tom?
Tom got to be a part of it. It intrigue him because it was symbolic figure of his life.

What is Laura concerned about?
She worries about Tom drinking

Discuss the symbolism of the coffin trick?
It symbolizes Tom’s way of leaving the conflicting situation that he deals with in his life. Like how the guy in the coffin got out of the coffin without the nails coming out of their place.

What happens on the fire escape when Amanda sends Laura for some butter?
Laura slips down the steps of the stairs.

What does Amanda want to talk about with Tom?
About Laura’s future

How does Amanda know about Tom’s intention to join the Merchant Marine? What condition does she try to place on his doing so?
Amanda sees the letter from the Merchant Marine and she hopes that there’s someone to take his place.

In this scene, in what ways does Tom remind Amanda of his father?
Trying to leave, staying out late, and drinking.

Amanda mentions two disastrous attempts to get Laura to participate in the world outside the apartment. What are they?
College and young people’s league at the church

What kind of young man does Amanda say Tom should find for Laura?
A man who doesn’t drink and successful.

Which of Amanda’s character traits are revealed in her phone cal to Ella Cartwright in scene 5?
She is shown to be annoying and somewhat skeptical

Laura is so emotionally fragile that she cannot tolerate the conflicts that burst out between her mother and Tom. Write at least one well-developed paragraph about this aspect of the play, citing at least three examples from this and earlier scenes of Laura’s desire to avoid conflict.
Laura is really emotionally fragile, that may be one of the reasons why she lacks social skills. But when Tom and Amanda get into an argument, Laura stands there speechless and upset. She wanted Amanda and Tom to get along.

Scene 6 starts with Tom standing on the fire escape landing, smoking, where he is soon joined by his mother. What does the fire escape seem to represent for Tom? In contrast, what is Amanda’s attitude towards the fire escape landing?
It represents an escape for Tom, Amanda doesn’t like it when Tom goes out there.

What does Amanda think Tom should be spending his money on instead of on cigarettes?
School

What does Tom guess that Amanda has wished for early in scene 6? Is Tom able to grant the wish? What does Amanda tell Laura to wish for at the end of the scene?
Amanda has wished for a gentleman caller for Laura and Tom goes out brings one home.

Describe the plans that Amanda begins immediately to make upon learning that a “gentleman caller” is to come to dinner the next night.
She expects happiness and good fortune

What details about Jim O’Connor is Amanda able to glean from her interrogation of Tom?
Jim works at the warehouse and makes 85 dollars a month. Jim isn’t a family man but religious

What is one habit that Amanda says she will not tolerate in a suitor for Laura?
A drunkard

How does scene 6 serve to advance the action of the plot?
Basically the set changes; everything in the apartment looks more neater and clean.

Why is Tom “valuable” to Jim?
He knew about his past glories

What is Jim’s nickname for Tom? Why does he give Tom this nickname?
Shakespeare, because Tom would go in the back of the warehouse and write poems

What challenges has Amanda made in the living room in preparation for the gentleman caller?
She makes the living room roomier and neater.

What union has Tom joined? Where has he gotten the money to pay for his dues?
Tom has joined the Union of Merchant Seamen; the money came from the light bill that was supposed to be paid.

What are Laura’s feelings and reactions when her mother tells her to answer the door for Tom and Jim? When she tries to join Jim and the family for dinner?
Laura freaks out and goes into the hallway to calm down a bit, but afterwards she faints

In what ways are both Jim and Tom trying to change the direction of their lives?
They both search for a better career. Jim takes classes and Tom is joining the union.

By what means does Amanda try to charm Jim? Do you think she succeeded? Explain?
Amanda eventually starts a conversation about Tom and Laura, which mostly they are lies about everything.

From where has the old candelabrum come? How did it become misshapen?
It came from a church, and it got misshapen by the church that burned down.

What class did Laura and Jim take together in high school? Why was Laura self-conscious in the class?
They took chorus, and Laura was always self-conscious because she was always late and had to walk in front of everyone

What two mementos from high schools does Laura show Jim? What does he sign and why?
A yearbook and the program that was in. He signed the program because Laura wanted him to.

Which of Laura’s glass figures is her favorite? How does it get broken?
Her favorite was the unicorn and it got broken while they were dancing.

Jim explain that he cannot call Laura later for a date. Why is such a call impossible?
Because Jim is engaged.

What is Jim’s view of himself and his general outlook on people and life? Do you think his self-confidence is genuine or a pose? Explain.
Jim is self-confident and basically thought that he was just on the spot.

What do you consider the climax of the play? Explain.
The argument of Tom and Amanda and of how Tom wanted to leave

What do you think the broken unicorn symbolizes?
It symbolizes Laura becoming from unique to normal

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