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"The Glass Menagerie" – Character Analysis Of Amanda Wingfield

1191 words - 5 pages

Amanda Wingfield is the most prominent and dynamic character in the play. She is described by Williams as "a little woman of great but confused vitality clinging frantically to another time and place". In the play, Amanda appears to be a paranoiac as she was constantly worrying about her family's future, and coming up with seemingly foolish ways to 'secure' their lives. It is not until the end, that one sees her real self emerge, when she subtly revealed the angel-like beauty that was hidden in her all along.In her younger days, she was a typical Southern Belle, brought up in a genteel family and pampered by her seventeen beaux. She received a traditional upbringing and was taught to value certain social distinctions, which she carried on until later in life, even when those values were already rejected by social norm. This explained her 'silliness' and 'weirdness' when meeting Jim and when talking to Tom or even Laura. Out of those seventeen gentleman callers, she chose a man she loved, but he in return fell in love with long distance, and abandoned her with her two children. Being the strong woman she was, Amanda raised both her children single-handedly, until they were grown-ups. She encouraged both her children to enroll in activities so that they could improve themselves, support the family, and so that they might be successful..However, because of her desperate hopes for her children, she was extremely protective over her children, and was forever nagging at her son. Even on small things like eating, she still had something to say, for example, "Honey, don't push with your fingers. If you have to push with something, the thing to push with is a crust of bread. And chew - chew! Animals have sections in their stomach…" Also, because Amanda was so worried that Tom would end up drinking like his father did once, she would argue with him every time he came home from the movies. This, in the end, led to her son's departure for good.Though strong she was, Amanda denied reality in a dangerous way. Her daughter, Laura, was unfortunately crippled -- she had to walk with a brace and was extremely shy. Nevertheless, Amanda dismissed Laura's handicap without so much as a wave of her hand. She refused to acknowledge that Laura was crippled, and wouldn't let any of her children mention it. When Laura said to Amanda that she was crippled, so she wouldn't have gentleman callers, Amanda said, "Nonsense! Laura, I've told you never, never to use that word. Why, you're not crippled, you just have a little defect…" This also led to her constant persuasion to Laura that she would have many gentleman callers.Amanda's constant nagging at Tom, and her refusal to see Laura for who she really is does agitate the audience, but she also reveals her sacrificial love for her family early in the play. She endured the painfully embarrassing process of selling newspaper subscriptions so that she could enhance Laura's marriage prospects, and never uttered a word...

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