The Glass Menagerie Summary Part 3

The Glass Menagerie Summary Part 3

Table of Contents
Summary Part 2
Summary Part 3
Summary Part 4
Literary Analysis
Further Resources

Scene 5 Summary

It is early one spring evening, and Tom goes out on the fire escape for a smoke. He turns to the audience and talks about the Paradise Dance Hall, across the alley from their apartment. It is a modern, urban contrast to the tiny antebellum plantation that Amanda runs in the apartment, filling the alley with adventure, liquor, music and sex. Amanda comes out and joins him on the escape. He informs her that he has finally secured Laura’s first gentleman caller. Amanda immediately springs into action, enthusiastically making plans. She panics a bit when he tells her that he is coming over the next night, but decides that they will be able to pull it off if they work round the clock.

The visitor’s name is James Delaney O’Connor, and because of his name, Amanda is at first concerned that he might be a drinker. But the more Tom describes him, the more impressed Amanda becomes. He was a star athlete and very popular in school. He is currently studying public speaking and radio engineering at night school, which impresses Amanda even more. Amanda wishes that Tom himself thought in more practical terms. “You are the only young man that I know of who ignores the fact that the future becomes the present, the present the past, and the past turns into everlasting regret if you don’t plan for it” (63) she chides him. Tom informs her that Jim does not know about Laura, and Amanda decides that they will simply proceed with the evening as a surprise. Tom also expresses some concern about Laura’s shyness and disability, but Amanda simply brushes it off, completely swept up in the spectacle of Laura’s marriage in her mind.

Scene 6 Summary

Tom tells the audience all about Jim’s background. He had been a champion basketball player, debater, and prominent singer in the school choir and opera. Tom says of him, “He was always running or bounding, never just walking. He seemed always at the point of defeating the law of gravity” (68). Tom knows that Laura knew of Jim and admired him, but doesn’t think that Jim knew anything about Laura. She is visibly shaken by the immense gravity that Amanda has put on this little soiree, though Amanda has indeed managed to make Laura look stunningly beautiful. Amanda also fixes herself up like she has not looked in a quarter century. As she does, she talks about all the elegant balls she attended as a young lady, and the afternoon rides through the country with her callers, out picking jonquils.

During the course of the conversation, Jim’s name is revealed, and Laura becomes petrified. Sure enough, when Tom and Jim arrive, Laura runs off. The boys go out on the fire escape for a smoke, and Jim tries to talk Tom into his public speaking course. Here, Tom reveals his own ambitions for the future- he has paid his way into the merchant marines instead of the electric bill this month, and intends to run off as soon as he can. Amanda ushers them in to supper, all the while rambling at a mile a minute out of nervousness. She calls Laura in to eat, but Laura is having another anxiety attack and can hardly stand. She goes into the living room to lie down while the other three sit down to eat.