The Glass Menagerie


Judgement Call
What is a good mother? Many people would immediately think of the cheery, bright-eyed, always willing to help her kids type portrayed on television oh so often. If so, then what is a bad mother? Could it be someone like the wicked stepmother in Cinderella? It might be a somewhat less mean spirited person like Peggy Bundy, but then again, even she came through for her children occasionally. Overall, a good mother ought to possess qualities such as caring about what her children want or need, being there for her children when they need a shoulder to cry on but backing off when they want to be left alone, and most of all, she must not superimpose on her children and attempt to use them as tools for any reason. One should realize that children are human beings too, at all ages. Amanda Wingfield possessed none of these qualities. She had her own intentions for her children, and was determined to have her children live these out.
To be successful in raising a child, one must always take into consideration what the child itself wants. There is no use in trying to raise a child to be something that it has no intention of being. This is something of a common occurrence, and it is unfortunate how many young dreams are smashed by parents who want "only the best" for their children. Not every child is destined for fame and fortune. Many may simply wish to lead a happy, mundane life much like Laura. Amanda fails to realize that she is putting Laura through hell with her gentlemen callers and her nagging about the typing class that Laura did not want to attend in the first place. Amanda wants Laura to want what she herself wanted, and although parents raise their children and in that children inherit some of their parents' tendencies, they will not grow up to be exactly as their parents were, no matter how hard a parent may try to make it so. Furthermore, Amanda never even attempts to understand Tom on any level. She simply expects him to conform with all of her wishes. By her logic, since she does not like the fact that he goes to movies, Tom should not go to see movies. If his life were clay for her hands to mold, she would have him home every night, or possibly out looking for "gentleman callers" for Laura to marry. She fails to realize that her children are people too, and in that aspect, she is a failure as a mother.
At times, it may be hard to distinguish when one is truly needed, and when it is appropriate to just leave somebody alone. A good mother ought to be able to realize this eventually and not to pick and persist with obviously annoying demands and questions. When a person is having a bad day, sometimes they would love to have someone to gripe to, but often they know in their hearts that the trouble will come to pass with time. It takes someone completely oblivious not to know when to ease up a little, but Amanda Wingfield does that often. For example, when Laura did not want to go to school anymore because the testing rattled her nerves and she was sick all over the place, (something that would be mortifying to a normal person, let alone someone who is extremely shy), Amanda had the nerve to sit there and complain how she should go back. One could argue that in her own mind, Amanda was simply being supportive, but in Laura's eyes, it was nagging. Furthermore, after Amanda and Tom reconciled at the breakfast table the morning after he had exploded at her, all seemed to be in order. For once, Amanda was doing something right. However, she decided to persist with her "helpful" little tidbits of advice, and that ended up setting her several steps back in her amiable relationship with him. If she had known when to back off, chances are they would have become closer and closer and the tale may have had a much happier ending.
Few people enjoy the feeling of being a puppet, especially if the strings are attached to the hand of someone who never fails to fall on their nerves. Parents have a