The Glass Menagerie
Poverty is one of the major themes presented in the play, ‘The Glass Menagerie.’ The Wingfield family undergoes so many financial constraints. Amanda Wingfield, the mother, does everything possible to eradicate the poverty in the family. Amanda looks desperately for a gentleman caller for her daughter so that Laura can at least share in his fortunes. Amanda, upon realizing that Laura has not been attending classes at Rubicam’s Business College; she is so shocked at first. She is disappointed, telling Laura that they will have to sit and watch the pictures their father left them. Amanda mentions that Laura will have no career because of her nervousness at the business school. This implies that Amanda had taken her there for her to learn business, get a job and at least not be poor. The entire family depends on Tom, who has a job he does not even like, working at the warehouse. Tom denies himself sleep, sleeping only three hours a day, yet the work gives him a meagre salary of 36 dollars a month which he uses to pay their house rent among many other things. Amanda telling Tom not to jeopardize his work, at least for the family’s sake implies they have no other source of income.
The play presents a few characters with diverse behaviour. Amanda is ambitious as she is determined to eradicate the poverty in the family and waits on the gentlemen caller’s visit to Laura though none is coming. Laura is respectful towards her mother and does most of what she is told obediently. Her love for her mother forces her to hide the fact that she has been missing Business School as she could not stand her mother’s anguish. Tom, however, is entirely different. His respect is immense towards his mother. His love for his family is so great that he endures the harsh working conditions in the warehouse to support his family. The argument with her mother seems to be his first as he tells her that he too has his patience limit. He reads hard and denies himself sleep, sleeping only three hours per day. He even seeks a gentleman caller for Laura when Amanda requests him to. In this, we see that he combines his ambition with life and family demands which makes him be a special character.