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Scene Four

Tom is approaching the apartment from the alley late at night. Laura apprehends him when he enters and asks him where he's been. He tells her he's been at the movies. He recounts what he's seen, and seems very taken with it all. There was a Greta Garbo film, he tells her, and a film with Mickey Mouse, as well as previews. Then an organ played a solo arrangement and a collection was taken up for a charity. Then, he tells her, there was a stage show, headlined by Malvolio the Magician who performed tricks. Tom was asked to come up from the audience and assist in the performance and is very excited about it. He's gotten a souvenir from Malvolio for his help -- a rainbow scarf. He gives the "'magic scarf'" to Laura, insisting that if she were to wave it over a goldfish bowl, fish would appear in it. And if she were to wave it again, the fish would turn to canaries, and fly away. The scene closes and morning comes.

Laura, Tom and Amanda get ready for the day, though Amanda ignores Tom, refusing to speak with him. He tries, hesitantly, to apologize to her. Amanda makes Tom promise never to become an alcoholic, and begins to speak more kindly to him, telling him that he is her support and that he bolsters her. She begs him not to disappoint her. She reveals that she sent Laura out so that she and Tom could speak privately.

She wants to talk about Laura. She tells Tom that she found Laura crying recently, and feels that it was because she is worried about Tom's happiness in the apartment. Apparently Laura was disturbed by an encounter with Tom while he was drunk, in which he confessed that he goes to the movies at night to escape the apartment. She asks if this is true.

Tom says that it's not true, but that there's so much in his heart that he can't explain to Amanda. He begs her to simply respect his feelings without asking him to lay them all out for her.

Amanda presses him, asking why he goes to the movies so much. He replies that he enjoys adventure. Amanda suggests that it's possible to find adventure in one's work. Tom counters with the fact that he works in a warehouse, which isn't adventurous at all. Amanda argues that perhaps it's not all that important to find adventure, to which Tom says that it is man's instinct to be a "'lover, a hunter,'" and "'a fighter'" -- all things unavailable to him in a warehouse.

As they begin to come to a stalemate, Amanda reveals that this topic isn't actually what she wanted to discuss. She says that she found a letter from the Merchant Marines addressed to Tom, and knows of his secret plans to leave town. She instructs him not to do so until he finds someone to substitute for him -- a man for Laura, to help support the family. She argues that Tom won't be free to leave until Laura can find a husband. She implores him to find a man to bring to dinner. She makes him promise to do so as he leaves for work.

The scene closes with Amanda on the phone to another acquaintance from the D.A.R., offering to renew her subscription to the Companion. She describes what gripping articles her friend has missed by letting her subscription run out. There will be a new series, she says, about the "'horsey set on Long Island.'" With these words, we get a sense of just how remote the lives of the Wingfields in St. Louis are from the well-to-do lives of socialites that they read about.

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Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Scene One
Scene Two
Scene Three
Scene Four
Scene Five
Scene Six
Scene Seven


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