Study Guide

The Glass Menagerie Love

By Tennessee Williams

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In The Glass Menagerie, love is tricky. We’re never really sure if love is genuine, or convenient, if it’s really love, or whether it’s just infatuation. The closest thing there is to genuine love occurs between Laura and Jim, and is based on a mutual understanding of each other’s individuality and uniqueness. Jim’s supposed love for Betty and their impending marriage is based on them ‘getting along fine,’ and while Amanda confesses that she loved her missing husband, he abandoned her, calling into question just how mutual that love was from the start. There is also the issue of familial love, and how to reconcile the anger and frustration we may feel with family members with our innate love for them. Particularly explored here is the nature of love between brother and sister, who support each other when on rocky ground with their mother.

Questions About Love

  1. Amanda said she loved Tom's father, and she says it like it's a state secret, even though they were married. So…did she love him? How does that affect how she feels about his having abandoned her?
  2. You've got your romantic love on one hand and then you've got your family love on the other hand. How do these two different types of love manifest themselves in this play. Is one stronger? Are they ever in competition?

Chew on This

While Amanda discusses her marriage to her missing husband, Laura her infatuation for Jim, and Jim his feelings for his fiancée, none of these characters actually experiences genuine love.

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