All of the characters have similarities to Williams's past and present. The mother of the play, Amanda Wingfield, shares characteristics with Williams's mother. Like Amanda Wingfield, Williams's mother was an aggressive woman, who had illusions of being a southern belle, and living a genteel life. Laura Wingfield, Amanda's daughter, is similar to Williams's sister. Amanda is shy and introverted. She is self-conscious of her condition, which she thinks is an awful limp leg. Williams's sister was mentally unstable, and spent most of her life in a mental institution. Tom Wingfield is closely related to Mr. Williams.
In real life, Williams felt very bad about leaving his mentally ill sister on her own. In the play, Tom (Williams) feels as if he is betraying his sister Laura by leaving home, just like his father did. Tom is thought to be homosexual; Williams is known to have been a homosexual. Tom and Williams are both artistic and creative. In the play, Tom works with shoes all day in a warehouse and hates his job. Williams's father, who was cold and abusive, was a shoe salesman. Jim O'Connor, Laura's tragic love interest, may be a character that Williams wishes he could have been. Jim was very popular in high school and loved by all. Women flock to him. Williams has not always been so loved. The end of the play is tragic. Jim O'Connor, Laura's lifelong love, leads her on with a kiss at the end of the play, but lets her down shortly afterwards with the news that he is engaged to another woman. To make matters worse, Tom, the family's sole provider, leaves home.