Is Gentleman Jim The Savior? Essay, Research Paper
Is Gentleman Jim the Savior? Is a man the solution to a family’s problems? In The Glass Menagerieby Tennessee Williams, Jim O’Connor, the gentleman caller, could be theresolution to the Wingfield’s predicaments. Throughout the play LauraWingfield, the daughter, lives in her childhood. If she married Jim O’Connor,it would fulfill a dream from her days of youth. Secondly, AmandaWingfield, the mother, needs to get her daughter out on her own. If Lauramarried Jim, it would take her away from the little cramped apartment in St.Louis, and away from her overbearing mother. Lastly, for Tom Wingfield,the son, it would be his long-awaited escape from the Household of Hell. Once Laura has married Jim, Tom would be able to join the MerchantMarines and travel to the wonderful and exotic world outside the decayingwalls of St. Louis. The Wingfield household is in drastic need for adenouement that will deliver delight to all. Firstly, Laura lives life in the past and will not experience the now. When asked if she has ever liked a boy she confesses to only one. Lauraadmits, “Yes. I liked one [boy] once… His name was Jim” (p 43). Thispassage shows that Laura has only liked one boy in her entire life, one fromlong ago. Later on, she proclaims, “There was a Jim O’Connor we both knewin high school…You asked me once if I’d ever liked a boy. Don’t youremember I showed you this boy’s [Jim's] picture?” (p 89). She is once againspeaking of her only true love in this passage. In a special little place in herheart, Laura has always had feelings for this boy, Jim, and they continue still. Secondly, Amanda Wingfield’s mission in life is to find her anti-socialdaughter a gentleman caller and potential husband (which in this case turnsout to be Jim). The thought of a caller is an obsession that lingers in hermind. She exclaims, “Girls that aren’t cut out for business careers usuallywind up married to some nice man. Sister, that’s what you’ll do!” (p 44). This
demonstrates how Amanda feels that Laura cannot do anything at all, but willbe okay if she has a husband. She then says to Tom, “We have to be making some plans and provisions for her. She’s olderthan you, two years, and nothing has happened. She just drifts along doingnothing. It frightens me how she just drifts along… There’s no such type[homegirls], and if there is, it’s a pity! That is unless the home is hers, with ahusband!” (p 65). This discussion that Amanda has with Tom about Laura ends up beingabout a husband, showing that these “plans and provisions” are constantlyrunning through her mind. Since Amanda is always searching for thisgentleman caller, it sadly becomes an obsession, and it will not cease untilshe finds the man that will make Laura happy forever. Lastly, Tom is always feeling that he needs to get away from hisdomineering mother. He has finally begun to dig his way to freedom from theWingfield prison, using his shovel named Jim, a gentleman caller. Amandastates matter-of-factly, “I mean that as soon as Laura has got somebody totake care of her, married, a home of her own, independent- why, then you’llbe free to go wherever you please, on land, on sea, whichever way the windblows you! But until that time you’ve got to look out for your sister” (p 65). In short, Amanda is saying that Tom can leave St. Louis as soon as he finds ahusband for Laura. Then, not long after Amanda’s previous statement, Tomproudly declares, “I thought perhaps you wished for a gentleman caller… Weare going to have one.” (p 72). Tom’s eagerness to get away is displayed bythe short length of time it takes him to find Jim. Now he has Jim as his ticketout of town. The Wingfields now have a chance for a normal life. Jim is the hope ofthe past, the change of the present, and the dream of the future. He can makeLaura feel special, Amanda feel young, and set Tom free. He is the key thatwill unlock hidden happiness. Jim is the answer to their dilemmas. He istruly a savior.