Across the horizon: the rising sun and endless possibilities
 
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Studyworld Studynotes
\Studyworld\ Studyworld Studynotes \ Glass Menagerie, The:
Scene Three

Scene Three opens with Tom's narration. He says that since Laura's confession about not going to school, Amanda has begun to obsess constantly about the idea of a gentleman caller coming to court Laura. The "image of the gentleman caller" haunts the Wingfield apartment, Tom says, and Amanda begins mentioning the possibility that Laura will be called on every evening at dinner. Amanda takes on a job, doing phone solicitation for a women's magazine, in order to help supplement the family income. We see Amanda making phone calls to female acquaintances from the D.A.R., peddling The Homemaker's Companion. She attempts to get subscriptions renewed, and we see her struggling desperately to make sales.

Amanda and Tom have an intense argument: Tom is feeling claustrophobic in the house, as if there's nothing in it that he can simply call his own. Amanda is too nosy, he complains, and doesn't comprehend the boundaries between the two of them. She's even confiscated his books on the argument that they are obscene and that she won't have such stuff in her house. Tom counters that he's the one making the money to pay the rent, so it's not technically her house. The stage gets brighter and we see manuscripts and a typewriter. We begin to understand that Tom was writing when Amanda interrupted him, and that perhaps he has aspirations to be an author.

Amanda tells Tom that she doesn't believe him about the ways in which he spends his time. He has told her that he goes to the movies every night. She thinks it's impossible that that's what he's doing. She suggests that he's been doing shameful things instead, but she isn't more specific than that. It's just that she finds it simply impossible that Tom could be spending so much time watching movies. She accuses Tom of being irresponsible by putting his job in jeopardy -- he's responsible for the welfare of the rest of the family, after all. She tells Tom that he's been selfish.

Tom finally explodes, ranting on about his hatred of his work at Continental Shoemakers. He asks Amanda if she honestly thinks that he enjoys his work there -- that he plans to make a career of work at the warehouse. Time there takes away from his creative process and tortures him with its banality. He reveals that when Amanda wakes him up in the mornings he thinks enviously of dead people, thinking how lucky they are not to have to get up and go down to Continental. If going to a job he hates -- a job that goes against every dream that he's ever had for his life -- is selfish, then he doesn't know what wouldn't be. Tom says that if he really were selfish he'd follow in his father's footsteps. He gestures to his father's picture and says that he'd be where his father is -- "Gone." He grabs his coat and tries to put it on, but in his frenzy he struggles with it. He tears it off and throws it against the wall, en route to which it strikes some of Laura's glass animals and breaks them. Laura gasps. Amanda doesn't seem to notice, and leaves the room in a fury. Tom helps Laura clean up the broken glass.

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