The Glass Menagerie

In Scene One

what indications are there that there is tension in the family?

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As the action begins with Amanda calling Tom to the dinner table, the tension in the family immediately becomes apparent. Amanda is a sympathetic character, but she is also demanding of her children and often quite silly - instructing Tom, although he is a grown man whose wages support their family, how to chew his food. Laura tries to clear the table, but Amanda tells her to sit and be the lady while she does the work. As Tom goes out to smoke a cigarette, Amanda tells a story she has often told before, about one day in her youth when she received seventeen gentleman callers in a single afternoon. She names them, tells what they went on to do with their lives, and reminds her children miserably that she, who had her pick, chose their father. She then asks Laura when Laura's own gentleman callers are going to start arriving, and Laura responds nervously that she has none. The question clearly makes Tom uncomfortable. Amanda responds with incredulity to Laura's insistence that she is not as popular as her mother was back in the small town of Blue Mountain. The scene closes with Laura remarking wistfully to Tom that their mother is afraid that Laura will be an old maid.