The Glass Menagerie
by Tennessee Williams
The Glass Menagerie Dreams, Hopes, and Plans Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Scene.Line). Every time a character talks counts as one line, even if what they say turns into a big long monologue.
"So what are we going to do the rest of our lives? Stay home and watch the parades go by? Amuse ourselves with the glass menagerie, darling? Eternally play those worn-out phonograph records your father left as a painful reminder of him? We won’t have a business career – we’ve given that up because it gave us nervous indigestion! [She laughs wearily.] What is there left but dependency all our lives? I know so well what becomes of unmarried woman who aren’t prepared to occupy a position. I’ve seen such pitiful cases in the South – barely tolerated spinsters living upon the grudging patronage of sister’s husband or brother’s wife! – stuck away in some little mousetrap of a room – encouraged by one in-law to visit another – little birdlike women without any nest – eating the crust of humility all their life!
Is that the future that we’ve mapped out for ourselves? I swear it’s the only alternative I can think of! [She pauses.] It isn’t a very pleasant alternative, is it? [She pauses again.] Of course – some girls do marry." (2.34, Amanda).
Amanda’s attempts to have Laura marry are based on a fear of the future, not on any intrinsic value of love.
"An evening at home rarely passed without some illusion to this image, this specter, this hope…Even when he wasn’t mentioned, his presence hung in Mother’s preoccupied look and in my sister’s frightened, apologetic manner – hung like a sentence passed upon the Wingfields!" (3.1, Tom).
The language Tom uses to describe the gentleman caller is reminiscent of the effect on the audience of the hanging portrait – thus, the gentleman is for the future what Tom’s father is for the past.
[screen legend: "Plans and Provisions."]
"We have to be making some plans and provisions for her. She's older than you, two years, and nothing has happened. She just drifts along doing nothing. It frightens me terribly how she just drifts along." (Scene Four stage directions, 4.87, Amanda).
Amanda’s concern over the future always revolves around her children, not herself.