The Glass Menagerie

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Amanda Wingfield Character Analysis

Tom and Laura’s mother. Amanda was a Southern belle in her youth, and she clings to this romantic vision of her past rather than accepting her current circumstances of poverty and abandonment. Amanda does not live in the past; rather, she lives in her own version of the present that she sees through the veil of memories and illusions. Unlike Tom and Laura, who retreat into their own private fantasies to escape from reality, Amanda lives her daily life through the rose-tinted glasses of her memories and dreams. Amanda is pragmatic in many ways––for example, she makes ends meet by selling magazine subscriptions. However, Amanda’s vision of the way she thinks her world should work and the reality of the situation often do not intersect. She constantly nags Tom, and she refuses to accept Laura’s peculiarities, projecting her own ideals of femininity onto Laura rather than accepting or even recognizing her daughter for who she is. Amanda is both a very comic and deeply tragic figure. Her exaggerated, larger-than-life statements and actions are often so out of touch with reality that they seem quite funny. However, her self-delusion and inability to see the world around her is also sad and painful to watch. For example, when the Gentleman Caller comes to visit, Amanda puts on a frilly dress she had worn as a young ingénue, slips into a thick Southern accent, and minces daintily around the apartment, as though she were sixteen again. Her actions are absurd, but she cannot see how desperately and pathetically she is acting, which makes the scenario tragic.

Amanda Wingfield Quotes in The Glass Menagerie

The The Glass Menagerie quotes below are all either spoken by Amanda Wingfield or refer to Amanda Wingfield. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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Scene 1 Quotes

One Sunday afternoon in Blue Mountain—your mother received—seventeen!—gentlemen callers!

Related Characters: Amanda Wingfield (speaker)

Resume your seat, little sister—I want you to stay fresh and pretty—for gentleman callers!

Related Characters: Amanda Wingfield (speaker), Laura Wingfield
Scene 2 Quotes

What are we going to do, what is going to become of us, what is the future?

Related Characters: Amanda Wingfield (speaker)
Related Symbols: Typewriter

Fifty dollars’ tuition, all of our plans—my hopes and ambitions for you—just gone up the spout, just gone up the spout like that.

Related Characters: Amanda Wingfield (speaker), Laura Wingfield

What is there left but dependency all our lives? I know so well what becomes of unmarried women 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!

Related Characters: Amanda Wingfield (speaker), Laura Wingfield

...they cultivate other things to make up for it—develop charm—and vivacity—and—charm! That’s all you have to do! [she turns again to the photograph] One thing your father had plenty of—was charm!

Related Characters: Amanda Wingfield (speaker), Amanda Wingfield, Mr. Wingfield
Scene 3 Quotes

Listen! You think I’m crazy about the warehouse? [He bends fiercely toward her slight figure.] You think I’m in love with the Continental Shoemakers? You think I want to spend fifty-five years down there in that—celotex interior! with—fluorescent—tubes! Look! I’d rather somebody picked up a crowbar and battered out my brains—than go back mornings! I go!

Related Characters: Tom Wingfield (speaker), Amanda Wingfield

You’ll go up, up on a broomstick, over Blue Mountain with seventeen gentleman callers! You ugly—babbling old—witch...

Related Characters: Tom Wingfield (speaker), Amanda Wingfield
Related Symbols: Glass Menagerie, The Movies
Scene 4 Quotes

Try and you will succeed! [The notion makes her breathless.] Why, you—you’re just full of natural endowments! Both of my children—they’re unusual children! Don’t you think I know it? I’m so—proud!

Related Characters: Amanda Wingfield (speaker), Tom Wingfield, Laura Wingfield

Oh, I can see the handwriting on the wall as plain as I see the nose in front of my face! It’s terrifying! More and more you remind me of your father! He was out all hours without explanation—Then left! Goodbye! And me with the bag to hold.

Related Characters: Amanda Wingfield (speaker), Tom Wingfield, Mr. Wingfield
Scene 5 Quotes

No girl can do worse than put herself at the mercy of a handsome appearance!

Related Characters: Amanda Wingfield (speaker), Laura Wingfield

Amanda: A little silver slipper of a moon. Look over your left shoulder, Laura, and make a wish! ... Now! Now, darling, wish!
Laura: What shall I wish for, Mother?
Amanda [her voice trembling, and her eyes suddenly filling with tears]: Happiness! Good fortune!

Related Characters: Amanda Wingfield (speaker), Laura Wingfield (speaker)
Scene 6 Quotes

All girls are a trap, a pretty trap, and men expect them to be.

Related Characters: Amanda Wingfield (speaker), Laura Wingfield

Finally there were no more vases to hold them, every available space was filled with jonquils. No vases to hold them? All right, I’ll hold them myself!

Related Characters: Amanda Wingfield (speaker)

Gone, gone, gone. All vestige of gracious living! Gone completely! I wasn’t prepared for what the future brought me.

Related Characters: Amanda Wingfield (speaker)

A telephone man who—fell in love with long-distance! Now he travels and I don’t even know where!

Related Characters: Amanda Wingfield (speaker), Mr. Wingfield
Scene 7 Quotes

Things have a way of turning out so badly.

Related Characters: Amanda Wingfield (speaker)

Go, then! Go to the moon—you selfish dreamer!

Related Characters: Amanda Wingfield (speaker), Tom Wingfield
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Amanda Wingfield Character Timeline in The Glass Menagerie

The timeline below shows where the character Amanda Wingfield appears in The Glass Menagerie. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Scene 1
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Tom tells the audience about the four characters in the play—himself, his mother Amanda, his sister Laura, and a man named Jim they knew from high school—and adds that... (full context)
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Tom enters the apartment and joins Amanda and Laura at the dining-room table. The words “Ou sont les neiges” [“Where are the... (full context)
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Amanda tells a story of her youth in the South when on one Sunday afternoon she... (full context)
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Amanda suggests that Laura practice her typing as she waits for gentleman callers to arrive. The... (full context)
Scene 2
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...screen. Laura sits in the apartment, polishing her menagerie of glass figures. When she hears Amanda ascending the fire escape stairs, she hastily puts away the glass figures and pretends to... (full context)
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Amanda enters, dressed in the outfit she wears to her Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.)... (full context)
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Amanda tells Laura that she stopped by the business college where Laura has supposedly been enrolled.... (full context)
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Amanda wonders what will become of Laura, now that her career opportunities have been ruined, and... (full context)
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Amanda asks whether Laura has ever liked a boy, and Laura admits that she once had... (full context)
Scene 3
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...the fire escape and tells the audience that after the “fiasco” at the business college, Amanda has become obsessed with the idea that a gentleman caller must come to the house... (full context)
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Amanda enters with a telephone and elaborately, over-enthusiastically praises the magazine, describing one of the stories... (full context)
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Tom and Amanda are heard arguing behind curtains hanging over a door. Laura is standing in front of... (full context)
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Tom rips the curtains over the dining room door open, and he and Amanda continue to fight as Laura watches helplessly. The typewriter and Tom’s manuscripts are scattered across... (full context)
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Tom explodes at Amanda, claiming that he’d rather be bludgeoned to death with a crowbar than go back to... (full context)
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When Amanda declares again that she doesn’t believe Tom is going to the movies, Tom sarcastically tells... (full context)
Scene 4
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The bell tolls six times and Amanda calls out her customary “Rise and Shine!” She asks Laura to relay the message to... (full context)
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“Ave Maria” plays softly in the background as Tom finally apologizes to Amanda for his behavior. Amanda nearly breaks down as she speaks of the pride she has... (full context)
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Amanda turns the discussion to Laura, and “The Glass Menagerie” theme begins to play. Amanda says... (full context)
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When Amanda presses Tom to explain where he goes, Tom says that he goes to the movies... (full context)
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Amanda tells Tom that they have to make “plans and provisions” for Laura. She knows that... (full context)
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Amanda asks Tom to bring home a gentleman from the warehouse to introduce to Laura, and... (full context)
Scene 5
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It is spring, 1937. Amanda nags Tom about his appearance and his smoking. Tom steps onto the fire escape with... (full context)
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Amanda joins Tom on the fire escape, and they look at the moon together. They each... (full context)
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...apartment. A fanfare plays, and a gentleman caller with a bouquet appears on the screen. Amanda is delighted. Tom tells her that the gentlemen caller is coming tomorrow, which throws Amanda... (full context)
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Amanda begins to whisk around the apartment, simultaneously re-organizing the apartment and brushing Tom’s hair while... (full context)
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Amanda continues to pump Tom for information. She learns that the caller’s name is O’Connor, and... (full context)
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Tom tells Amanda that he hasn’t told Jim about Laura: he just invited Jim over for a family... (full context)
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Tom leaves for the movies, and Amanda calls Laura to the front room. She points out the moon to Laura, turns her... (full context)
Scene 6
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In preparation for the gentleman caller, Amanda has transformed the apartment with lampshades and curtains. She dresses Laura, who is visibly nervous,... (full context)
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Tom and Jim arrive and ring the doorbell. Laura is terrified and begs Amanda to open the door, but Amanda refuses, forcing Laura to be the one to open... (full context)
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Jim and Tom re-enter the house to find Amanda transformed into a grotesque version of herself as a young Southern belle. Amanda puts on... (full context)
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Amanda sends Tom to fetch Laura for supper, but Tom returns and announces that Laura is... (full context)
Scene 7
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...beautiful in the dim lamplight. As dinner is finished, the lights flicker and go out. Amanda lights candles and asks Jim to check the fuse box, which he does, although he... (full context)
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Amanda gives Jim an antique candelabrum from a church and a bottle of dandelion wine, instructing... (full context)
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Amanda waltzes in with lemonade, and Jim becomes awkward and tense. Amanda tells Jim that he... (full context)
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“Things have a way of turning out so badly,” says Amanda. She accuses Tom of playing a joke on them, but Tom insists that he didn’t... (full context)
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...his drink glass on the floor and bursts onto the fire escape. Inside the house, Amanda holds Laura in her arms, stroking her hair. Tom delivers a passionate, emotionally fraught closing... (full context)