English Critical Essay The Glass Menagerie

Submitted By dorourke25
Words: 1142
Pages: 5

Choose a play in which a central character experiences rejection, isolation or loneliness.
Show how the dramatist makes you aware of the character’s situation and discuss how it adds to your understanding of the character and/or the theme in the play as a whole.

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams is a play in which Laura, a central character, experiences rejection. This is highlighted in scene seven where we see Jim kissing Laura. Arguably, right from the beginning of the play we could say that Laura has experienced rejection in some form. In the first scene we see the family having dinner and discussing if Laura will have any gentlemen callers that night. Laura says to Tom that “Mother’s afraid I’m going to be an old maid.” Already we see this rejection creeping in. Amanda, Laura and Tom’s mother, has set this attitude already for Laura. As the play continues it comes to light that Laura has not been going to Rubicam’s Business College where she was enrolled. Laura argues that she did not want to tell her mother that she hadn’t been going because “when you’re disappointed, you get that awful suffering look on your face”. We see here that Laura fears the rejection of her mother for not going to college so would rather deceive her into thinking that she was still going. In the same scene, Amanda and Laura are now discussing Laura’s options since she no longer has a business career. Amanda tells her daughter that girl who doesn’t have business careers “sometimes end up married to very nice young men”. Laura’s instant reaction is to tell her mother she wouldn’t get married because she is “crippled”; again we see this rejection creeping in. Laura is self-prophesying that she will not get married because she is crippled. It is in the final scene that we see the rejection of Laura being highlighted. Jim O’Connor, the gentleman caller who Tom works with at the warehouse, is coming for dinner. Jim and Laura had gone to high school together and had been in the same class as each other for chorus. Laura, at the time, had been too shy to talk to Jim and she was now being confronted with him in her own home. Before everyone sits down to dinner Laura complains of feeling ill and proceeds to faint on the living room floor. Amanda tells her to go and rest and she would check on her later. After dinner Amanda and Tom are busy in the kitchen clearing the table and washing the dishes, which, to Amanda’s wish, leaves Jim and Laura alone. During this time we see Laura begin to relax and open up to Jim about how she felt about him during high school. Jim proceeds to tell Laura about his future plans in television and radio. They begin to talk with each other about what they have done since high school. During this conversation, it should be noted that Laura and Jim are sitting relatively close to each other on the floor, by candlelight and Jim had brought in Laura a glass of dandelion wine. This all adds to the atmosphere Amanda had wished to create. During the next interaction between Laura and Jim we see a mini courtship happen between both of them. They talk together, quite intimately, over dandelion wine and candlelight. He tells her that she is “an old-fashioned type of girl” which is a wonderful type to be. Laura asks Jim about Emily Meisenbach, his ex girlfriend who Laura thought he was married to by now. According to Jim an engagement was never happening except in Emily’s opinion. Laura lets her guard down a little bit more with Jim and tells him about her glass collection and which one is her favourite, although she shouldn’t really have favourites. Jim then asks Laura to dance, as he can hear the music from the dance hall, and she accepts. After dancing, Jim tells Laura that she just needs to build on her confidence and that someone should kiss her. So he does. It is here we see the pinnacle of Laura’s rejection. After the kiss Jim pulls away and mutters, “stumble john” to himself. He confesses that he