Notes on The Glass Menagerie Themes

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The Glass Menagerie Topic Tracking: Disappointment

Part 1, Scene 1

Disappointment 1: Disappointment is a large part of the lives of the Wingfield family. They are all living with broken dreams of one variety or another. For Amanda, she is disappointed that a life she dreamed of in her days at Blue Mountain has crumbled -- abandoned by her husband, left with a disgruntled son and a crippled daughter who is painfully shy and doesn't have a job. Amanda is disappointed that Laura has no gentlemen callers and remembers the many men that called on her in her youth at Blue Mountain. He fears her daughter will become an old maid; feeling Amanda's fear, Laura knows she is a disappointment to her mother.

Part 1, Scene 2

Disappointment 2: Laura disappoints Amanda by dropping out of the typing class at the business college. Amanda had hoped that the class would give Laura some marketable skills so that she could support herself if necessary, but Laura, after throwing up before a test, gave up on it. Amanda's plan to secure a future for her daughter is ruined; now she has to find another way to provide security for her child.

Disappointment 3: Laura didn't tell Amanda that she quit the class because she knew that Amanda would be disappointed in her, and she didn't want to face it. She didn't want to have to confront the horrible, suffering expression her mother would wear when she heard the news. Instead, she just pretended to go to class everyday until Amanda discovered that Laura had dropped out.

Part 2, Scene 3

Disappointment 4: Tom is disappointed with his life because he feels trapped. There are things he longs to do in life, but he lives unfulfilled; Tom must work in the warehouse to support his mother and sister. Despite the fact that he sacrifices his dreams, Amanda insists that he acts selfish and jeopardizes their security by going to the movies until late every night and then going to work tired the next day. His sacrifice to support them is overshadowed by Amanda's belief that he's selfish.

Part 3, Scene 5

Disappointment 5: Although Amanda is optimistic at the prospect of a gentleman caller for Laura, Tom brings her lofty ambitions down a notch or two by reminding her not to expect too much from Laura because she is very different from other girls her age. She is a shy, crippled recluse who seems happiest living in her imaginary world with her glass menagerie. Even the finest, most interested gentleman caller will have difficulty breaking through her shyness.

Part 3, Scene 6

Disappointment 6: Amanda is upset that her daughter is already ruining their chances for hooking this gentleman caller because she's too afraid to even open the door. Amanda is sick of Laura's inability to be a part of society like a normal person, and this is a poor way to start off the evening.

Disappointment 7: Amanda is disappointed once again that Laura can't complete another task that she's set up to secure her future. Laura is too weak to even sit at the table with Jim, so how is she going to win him over or convince him to marry her?

Part 4, Scene 7

Disappointment 8: Jim explains that he's a little disappointed with the fact that he's not further along in the world; he had such promise as a high school student. Although he's disappointed, he's taking steps to improve his life and move his career along.

Disappointment 9: Laura's hopes had been lifted when Jim kissed her, but when he explains that he's engaged and won't be seeing her again, her disappointment plummets her into despair. Her dreams are broken as the unicorn ornament she loved is also broken by Jim's clumsiness.

Disappointment 10: Amanda's hopes for her daughter are crushed when she learns that Jim is engaged. She is horribly disappointed because things seemed to be going well only to fall apart in the end. All of her plans for Laura have crumbled. Tom is a disappointment as well because he has the same restlessness as his father. Both Amanda's children fall short of her expectations, and she is a terminally disappointed woman.

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