The Glass Menagerie Write an essay on Jim, and how he influences the characters in the play.

Essay by SolcitoHigh School, 12th grade June 2004

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Jim is considered by most critics to be the most important character in the play. Although he makes his appearance towards the end of the play, he has a key role in the life of the other three characters. Tom looks up to him as a man who has made of his life what he could, and squeezed out of it as much juice as he could. Amanda sees him as a Messiah that will put rightness into her daughter's situation. Finally Laura, who seems to be in love with him, and sees him as the felicity she will never obtain.

Jim is a realistic and ordinary American man. During high school, he was a popular youngster, a successful debater and basketball player, and yearns those years. He sympathizes with anyone who remembers him as that popular boy, like Amanda and Thomas do. Jim is shown as an insensitive man, yet polite.

He has no objection in facing reality; when he is alone with Laura, he directly tells her she suffers of an "inferiority complex". Nevertheless, his polite side is shown when he sees how inappropriate Amanda's dress is, yet shows no sign of laughter or sign of realising this, dissimulating this with a brief comment on the dress. Another characteristic of Jim is his perseverance; even though he works in a shoe deposit, he says to Laura that he is "disappointed but […] not discouraged". He has great plans of success with the television business.

Tom feels frustrated; he feels he has not lived yet, and has wasted his twenty years in life. When his father left home, with the quest for adventures and long distances, the family responsibility fell on him. In the play, he is slightly over twenty years old, and most young men of...