Character Sketch of Jim O’Connor in The Glass Menagerie

Jim O’Connor is Tom’s colleague at the shoe factory, and Laura’s first gentleman caller and first high school crush. Jim’s character stands in contrast to Tom and Laura. He excelled at everything in high school and was popular for his achievements. Even though he works at the same place as Tom, at almost the same position, he does not let the mediocrity of his job drive him towards the need to escape from reality. He is ambitious and believes in self-improvement. He works at his job by the day, and studies radio engineering and public speaking at night school to improve his social and economic status. Jim’s character in the play represents the ordinary and normal. He is enthusiastic, friendly, and engages well with reality and society. He is an optimist. He is the only person in the play, who vocally expresses his observation of Laura’s purity and uniqueness and makes her believe that being different from others can be a thing to pride oneself on. His arrival spurs the climax of the play. Soon after Jim’s visit, Tom leaves, plunging his family in darkness, both literally and metaphorically. He flirts with and kisses Laura, despite knowing that he is engaged, leaving the audience feeling confused about his intentions.

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