Glass Menagerie Essay, Research Paper
Who is the Main Character in
The Glass Menagerie
Who is the main character in The Glass Menagerie ? This is the question that many people contemplate about since there is a number of characters who are fit for the part. To help figure out exactly who the main character is, think about what is a protagonist? A protagonist is defined as the principal character in a literary work or a leading actor, character, or participant in a literary work or real event. Therefore, is Tom the main character since it is his story or is it Laura since all of his problems seem to revolve around her, or maybe its Amanda since she loves to start a great deal of ruckus.
Tom is the narrator of the play and the son of Amanda and the escaped father in the photograph above the mantle. He is the brother to Laura; Tom is the breadwinner for the family. He works in the Continental Shoemakers’ factory and sneaks away to write poetry when business is slow. He dreams of getting away from home where he’s trapped in a job he hates, and he goes to the movies every night to seek out adventure. The movies stop being enough to satisfy his desire, and he joins the Merchant Marines, using the money that was meant to pay the electricity bill for his membership fee. Although he does escape as his father did, he is still haunted by the memory of his sister he left behind, Laura.
Laura is Tom’s sister, older by about two years. She is crippled — one leg slightly shorter than the other– and wears a metal brace on her foot that is barely noticeable. In her mind, it is a neon sign pointing out her imperfection. She is painfully shy and self-conscious because of her infirmity, and because she is so timid, she withdraws from society. Laura finds comfort, safety, and companionship among the glass animal figurines she collects — her glass menagerie. This escape becomes her world.
Amanda is Tom and Laura’s mother. She is a faded Southern belle whose greatest accomplishment in her own eyes was having 17 gentleman callers in one day when she lived in Blue Mountain. Out of those reported 17, she chose a man she loved, but he abandoned her, leaving her to raise their children alone. Amanda encourages her children to engage in activities to improve themselves, such as a typing class, because she wants them to be successful. But after Laura’s failure to complete a typing class, Amanda concludes that she and Tom must find a husband for Laura so that she will have someone to support her. Amanda and Tom never really see eye to eye on anything; she worries and nags him constantly about his smoking and his escape to the movies every night because she thinks that he is out drinking. Although she and Tom argue a great deal, when Jim O’Connor, the gentleman caller, arrives, Amanda is all sugar, her manners are perfect Southern hospitality.
Now, think hard, who is the main character in The Glass Menagerie ? The winner is Tom Wingfield. Although all of the characters had the potential to be the main character, Tom shows more meaning in the play. Since it is his story and he is centered on everything that happens in the play, he is the main character.