The Glass Menagerie

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Jim O’Connor Character Analysis

The Gentleman Caller whose arrival in scene six spurs the play’s climax. Tennessee Williams’s stage directions describe Jim as “a nice, ordinary, young man.” Jim works with Tom at the warehouse. He and Tom were acquaintances in high school, where Jim was the hero: sports star, lead in the theater productions, class president, etc. Jim is Tom’s foil, the steady, working man who is neither haunted by the past nor yearns for a seemingly impossible future. Unlike the play’s other characters, Jim does not visibly long for escape from his present situation. Instead, he is content in his working-class, ordinary lifestyle. Jim is pleasant and affable, amused by Tom’s poetic inclinations and sympathetic to his ambitions rather than threatened or confused. When Tom invites Jim over for dinner, he knows that Laura knew Jim in high school, but he does not know that she had such a profound crush on him. After he comes to dinner, Jim exits the Wingfields’ world to return to his fiancée and his real life.

Jim O’Connor Quotes in The Glass Menagerie

The The Glass Menagerie quotes below are all either spoken by Jim O’Connor or refer to Jim O’Connor. 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:
Memory Theme Icon
).
Scene 1 Quotes

[The gentleman caller] is the most realistic character in the play, being an emissary from a world of reality that we were somehow set apart from. But since I have a poet’s weakness for symbols, I am using this character also as a symbol; he is the long-delayed but always expected something we live for.

Related Characters: Tom Wingfield (speaker), Jim O’Connor
Scene 6 Quotes

[Jim] seemed to move in a continual spotlight. ... He was shooting with such velocity through his adolescence that you would logically expect him to arrive at nothing short of the White House by the time he was thirty.

Related Characters: Tom Wingfield (speaker), Jim O’Connor
Scene 7 Quotes

Jim lights a cigarette and leans indolently back on his elbows smiling at Laura with a warmth and charm which lights her inwardly with altar candles.

Related Characters: Laura Wingfield, Jim O’Connor

Jim: What kind of glass is it?
Laura: Little articles of it, they’re ornaments mostly! Most of them are little animals made out of glass, the tiniest little animals in the world. Mother calls them a glass menagerie!...Oh, be careful—if you breathe, it breaks!...There now—you’re holding him gently! Hold him over the light, he loves the light! You see how the light shines through him?

Related Characters: Laura Wingfield (speaker), Jim O’Connor (speaker)

Unicorns—aren’t they extinct in the modern world?

Related Characters: Jim O’Connor (speaker)
Related Symbols: Glass Unicorn

Jim: Aw, aw, aw. Is it broken?
Laura: Now it is just like all the other horses.
Jim: It’s lost its—

Laura: Horn! It doesn’t matter...I don’t have favorites much...I’ll just imagine he had an operation. The horn was removed to make him feel less—freakish!

Related Characters: Laura Wingfield (speaker), Jim O’Connor (speaker)
Related Symbols: Glass Menagerie, Glass Unicorn

They’re common as—weeds, but—you—well, you’re—Blue Roses!

Related Characters: Jim O’Connor (speaker), Laura Wingfield
Related Symbols: Blue Roses, Music
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Jim O’Connor Character Timeline in The Glass Menagerie

The timeline below shows where the character Jim O’Connor appears in The Glass Menagerie. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Scene 1
Memory Theme Icon
Abandonment Theme Icon
...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 the father is the fifth character, although he... (full context)
Scene 2
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Illusions and Dreams Theme Icon
...has ever liked a boy, and Laura admits that she once had a crush on Jim, the high school hero, who sat near her in chorus. Laura once told Jim that... (full context)
Scene 5
Illusions and Dreams Theme Icon
...O’Connor, and he works as a shipping clerk in the warehouse. She grills Tom about Jim’s salary, his background, and his ambitions. Amanda is pleased to hear that Jim attends night... (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 dinner without any qualifications. Amanda... (full context)
Scene 6
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Illusions and Dreams Theme Icon
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Leaning on the fire escape, Tom tells the audience about Jim. He describes Jim as the high-school hero, captain of sports teams, star of glee club,... (full context)
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Illusions and Dreams Theme Icon
When Laura learns that the caller is none other than Jim O’Connor, the boy she loved in high school, she panics, claiming that she can never... (full context)
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Tom and Jim arrive and ring the doorbell. Laura is terrified and begs Amanda to open the door,... (full context)
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After awkwardly greeting Jim, Laura dashes to the Victrola and then through the portieres. Tom explains that Laura is... (full context)
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Tom tells Jim that he’s sick of the movies and wants, instead, to move. He reveals that instead... (full context)
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Illusions and Dreams Theme Icon
Jim and Tom re-enter the house to find Amanda transformed into a grotesque version of herself... (full context)
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...lie on the sofa. Amanda asks Tom to say grace as she glances anxiously at Jim. (full context)
Scene 7
Abandonment Theme Icon
Illusions and Dreams Theme Icon
...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 knows why the lights have... (full context)
Illusions and Dreams Theme Icon
Amanda gives Jim an antique candelabrum from a church and a bottle of dandelion wine, instructing him to... (full context)
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Jim sets the candles on the floor, sits on the floor as well, and urges Laura... (full context)
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Illusions and Dreams Theme Icon
Laura asks Jim if he has kept up with his singing, and she reminds him that they knew... (full context)
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Illusions and Dreams Theme Icon
Laura and Jim leaf through the high school yearbook, The Torch. Laura admits that she had wanted Jim... (full context)
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Jim asks Laura what she has done since high school, and she starts to explain that... (full context)
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Laura tells Jim about her glass animals. She hands him the unicorn, her favorite, to hold. He says,... (full context)
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Jim and Laura hear waltz music from the Paradise Dance Hall. Despite Laura’s protests, Jim leads... (full context)
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Jim tells Laura that she is as uncommon as blue roses and says that someone ought... (full context)
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Jim confesses to Laura that he is engaged to Betty, an Irish Catholic like himself. Laura... (full context)
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Amanda waltzes in with lemonade, and Jim becomes awkward and tense. Amanda tells Jim that he will have to be a frequent... (full context)
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Illusions and Dreams Theme Icon
...Tom of playing a joke on them, but Tom insists that he didn’t know about Jim’s engagement. He leaves to go to the movies, and Amanda yells that for all he... (full context)