The Glass Menagerie Characters Analysis


Tom Wingfield - The narrator of the play, who shares his first name with the author, tells the audience the story of his life in the future. He takes part in the action of the play, and steps outside the action to give the audience important context about the events of the play, and to share his musings on the action. Tom works a dead-end job at a local Shoe Warehouse, caring for his old mother, and reclusive sister, because his father abandoned their family. Tom wishes to lead a life of adventure and hates his current occupation, he immerses himself in movies and drinking to deal with that frustration. He eventually leaves his family behind and pursues his dreams, but he always regrets the decision of leaving his sister behind.

Laura Wingfield - Laura is a reclusive and shy girl, who spends most of her time polishing her collection of glass animals. She is deeply bound to her brother and mother and consequently becomes the emotional core of the family. She keeps the family together, but she is extremely fragile much like her glass menagerie. She falls in love with Jim in high school, and cannot bare the thought of talking to him when she first learns that he will be coming to dinner. Jim notes her beauty and can’t help but kiss her, which gives Laura such deep joy. However, she soon learns that Jim is engaged, and experiences visceral grief yet she bids him goodbye with cordiality and gives him a souvenir of their meeting.

Amanda Wingfield - Amanda is abandoned by her husband, and she is haunted by this betrayal her whole adult life. She regresses to the days before she had met her husband and often tells her children about the day that she had received 17 gentlemen callers who were interested in marrying her. Amanda lives out a version of her reality and fails to see the true conditions of her life. She is deeply controlling of her children and focuses all her energy on living through them.

Jim O’Connor - The gentleman caller that Tom brings home upon Amanda’s insistence is Tom’s colleague from work and his old schoolmate. Jim functions as Tom’s foil, as he performs his job at the warehouse well, and yet pursues his dreams by attending the night school. He is thoroughly charmed by Laura’s alien beauty and her quiet appreciation of him for his achievements in high school. However, he shatters both Laura’s feelings and Amanda’s dreams by revealing that he is engaged to marry someone else.

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