Top 4 The Glass Menagerie quotes


    “He was a telephone man who fell in love with long distances; he gave up his job with the telephone company and skipped the light fantastic out of town....The last we heard of him was a picture postcard from Mazatlan, on the Pacific coast of Mexico, containing a message of two words— 'Hello—Good-bye!' and no address."

    Tom Wingfield, Scene 1

    In the opening scene of the play, Tom Wingfield describes the situation with his father. It is interesting to note that Tom’s description of his father’s absence does not include an overtly negative description or any sort of condemnation. Tom does not feel that his father was wrong in leaving them, because if he were to think in this manner, then he would be forced to conclude that he was also wrong for abandoning his family.


    “You know it don’t take much intelligence to get yourself into a nailed-up coffin, Laura. But who in hell ever got himself out of one without removing one nail?”

    Tom Wingfield, Scene 4

    Tom returns home quite drunk at five in the morning, after having a terrible fight with his mother. Laura asks him about where he had been, and he describes to her all the shows that he had watched. Among the tricks that he had witnessed, one trick had left a major impact on him, the one in which the magician had escaped a coffin without removing any one of the nails. Tom likens his situation to that of the magician in the coffin, and he can’t help but wonder if there exists a solution that would allow him to pursue his dreams without having to hurt his mother and sister.


    completely! I wasn’t prepared for what the future brought me. All of my gentlemen callers were sons of planters and so of course I assumed that I would be married to one and raise my family on a large piece of land with plenty of servants. But man proposes—and woman accepts the proposal! To vary that old, old saying a bit—I married no planter! I married a man who worked for the telephone company!”

    Amanda Wingfield, Scene 6

    Amanda receives Jim O’Connor wearing a very old dress from her youth and speaks to him in her Southern accent. She immediately launches into a discussion of the trajectory of her own life, as she explains how she had gone from a pampered young woman to an abandoned housewife within the space of a few years. She disparages the modern world that has as yet been unable to offer her the finer things that she had lost as the old world order faded away. Amanda’s thoughtlessness is exemplified in her discussion of her gentlemen callers, a role that she expects Jim to fulfill for her daughter Laura, even though he has no information about her as yet.


    “I pass the lighted window of a shop where perfume is sold. The window is filled with pieces of colored glass, tiny transparent bottles in delicate colors, like bits of a shattered rainbow. Then all at once my sister touches my shoulder. I turn around and look into her eyes. Oh, Laura, Laura, I tried to leave you behind me, but I am more faithful than I intended to be!”

    Tom Wingfield, Scene 7

    In the final scenes of the play, Tom reveals that he had indeed followed in his father’s footsteps and abandoned his family for the pursuit of adventure. However, his escape from the Wingfield apartment was not quite as clean as he had hoped. He remarks how his sister’s memories continue to haunt him, and that he is tortured by the knowledge that he had failed his sister and mother. He is unable to move on from the hurt that he had inflicted, and this memory play is perhaps an attempt for him to finally do so.

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