It is important to note that there are significant similarities between Amanda and Jim, and Jim and Tom in various regards. Jim O’Connor is introduced by Tom as a person with a successful past but who undergoes daily struggles in the main timeline of the story. It can be compared to Tom’s mother, Amanda, who also had popularity among men during her early years, but now lacks attention and partners.
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For example, she states: “My callers were gentleman -all! Among my callers were some of the most prominent young planters of the Mississippi Delta – planters and sons of planters!” (Williams 5). In addition, Tom narrates: “He was a star in basket-ball, captain of the debating club, president of the senior class and the glee club and he sang the male lead in the annual light operas” (Williams 51). It is evident that both Amanda and Jim were admired and at the center of attention in the past, but their current state does not match their past ambitions and expectations.
Moreover, there are major character similarities between Jim and Tom. It is manifested in the fact that both of them are trying to improve their situation by focusing on self-development. For instance, Tom states: “He knew of my secret practice of retiring to a cabinet of the washroom to work on poems when business was slack in the warehouse” (Williams 51). This demonstrates that he was working on the thing that Tom was most passionate about during his work hours. He also says: “I go to the movies because – I like an adventure. Adventure is something I don’t have much of at work, so I go to the movies.” (Williams 30).
The given statement can be attributed to the fact that Tom loves poetry and artistic storytelling. In addition, the same pattern of behavior and attitude can be seen in Jim. During the interaction between Tom and Jim, the latter reveals his approach of self-development by saying: “A course I’m taking.” (Williams 63). This shows that Jim is taking deliberate actions on improving himself by acquiring essential skills, which can lead to success.
However, it can be seen that Jim’s efforts are more practical and realistic compared to Tom. On the one hand, Tom’s high interest in movies can be attributed to the fact that he uses it as an escape from his dysfunctional family. For example, he leaves the scene out screen door by saying: “I’m going to the movies” (Williams 50). It is evident that Tom enjoys his hobby not only because he likes adventure, but also because it is a gateway for the arguments behind. On the other hand, Jim is taking a public speaking course not mainly due to his interest in this particular activity, bit because he wants to improve his current state of working at the warehouse.
For instance, he says: “In public speaking! You and me, we’re not the warehouse type” (Williams 63). The given statement illustrates that Jim wishes to escape by developing a critical skillset, and he also recognizes that Tom is similar to him in this regard. Jim also tries to explain Tom the reason why he is taking a public speaking course by stating: “It fits you for – executive positions!” (Williams 63). This particular line demonstrates the difference between Tom’s and Jim’s ambitions due to the fact that the latter is aiming for executive roles.
Furthermore, Jim possesses a complete understanding of the factors that differentiate him from the rest, which cannot be seen in Tom’s overall motivation. For example, the former claims: “Ask yourself what is the difference between you an’ me and men in the office down front? Brains? No! – Ability? – No! Then what? Just one little thing” (Williams 64). Jim realizes that one’s intelligence and capability does not necessarily lead to success in life. Later, he states: “Primarily it amounts to – social poise! Being able to square up to people and hold your own on any social level!” (Williams 64). It is important to understand that Jim values self-reliance and composure because he believes that these factors are the primary determinants of a successful and goal-oriented person.
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Moreover, Tom’s overall passive disinterest in Jim’s statements, which is manifested in stage direction, shows how Jim’s aspirations for a better future are more realistic than his colleague’s. For example, Tom’s responses and his general attitude were mostly unattached to the conversation, because his aspirations are illusionary and mere methods of escaping his mother (Williams 63). Therefore, it becomes more evident that Jim is more likely to achieve his goals.
Although both of them possess a desire to improve their current states, Jim is primarily dedicated to acquiring essential skills for his aims. In addition, the narrator himself admits the fact that Jim is the most realistic person among the main characters of the story (Williams 2). It is important to understand that the given statement further supports the main premise of Jim’s efforts being more practical than Tom’s attempts to follow his passion.
Williams, Tennessee. The Glass Menagerie. Viking Penguin, 1944.