The Glass Menagerie
How we cite our quotes:
She crosses through the portieres and draws them together behind her. Tom is left with Laura. Laura clings weakly to the mantel with her face averted. Tom stares at her stupidly for a moment. Then he crosses to the shelf. He drops awkwardly on his knees to collect the fallen glass, glancing at Laura as if he would speak but couldn't. (Scene Three, stage directions).
Even when he is fighting with their mother, Tom never wavers in his care for Laura. This is one duty he never fails to fulfill.
Tom glances sheepishly but sullenly at her averted figure and slumps at the table…Tom blows on his coffee, glancing sidewise at his mother. She clears her throat. Tom clears his throat…
[hoarsely]: "Mother. I—I apologize, Mother." (Scene Four stage directions, 4.32, Tom).
Tom’s responsibility is not only to support the family financially, but to hold it together emotionally.
"I’ve had to put up a solitary battle all these years. But you’re my right-hand bower! Don’t fall down, don’t fail!" (4.37, Amanda).
Amanda places the responsibility on Tom to hold the family together.