The men were at liberty to actualize themselves, but the women were not. The play is said to typify pre-World War II America, but more women remained in the workforce after the war.
Williams is said to be making a commentary on Western culture by dramatizing his belief that men and women find reality and meaning in life through satisfactory sexual relationships. The main focus of both Amanda and Laura is to find that a mate who will rescue them. The difficult task is put on the shoulders of Tom. Amanda constantly nags Laura to stay pretty for her gentlemen callers for without them she will not be able to escape her current situation.
The glass menagerie refers to feminine qualities of fragility and delicacy, flawless beauty and grace. Such qualities are found in Laura. The unicorn as a symbol signifies chastity and purity, and even devotion - characteristics that are also shared by Laura.
Constraints on what a woman can and can't do. There are a lot that a woman can't do on the basis of her gender. The setting of the story was in St. Louis during the Depression era. Given the circumstances, it was difficult to be just a woman. At times like this where employment would be streamlined, being a woman would take second place. This has important implications for earning a living. Without a man in the house to earn, life would be hard. ...