A bell tolls five as Tom returns home. He has been drinking. Trying to extract his key from the mix of rubble in his pockets he drops it into a crack on the fire escape landing. Laura hears him fumbling about and opens the door. He tells her he has been at the movies all this time, a full program. Then there was a stage performance in which a magician allowed himself to be nailed into a coffin and then managed to escape without removing a nail. He remarks: "There is a trick that would come in handy for me get me out of this two-by-four situation!" The father's photograph lights up as an example of someone who has apparently performed such a feat. The lights dim.
At six, Amanda's "Rise and shine!" rings out, although this time she tells Laura to pass the message onto Tom. Laura implores Tom to apologize to their mother. Tom is noncommittal. Amanda sends Laura out to buy groceries on credit. Tense, awkward moments of silence transpire in the kitchen until at last Tom rises from the table and apologizes. Amanda gushes and Tom speaks gently. She is concerned about Laura. Laura thinks that Tom is not happy living with them, that he goes out every night to escape the apartment; she broods about this. Amanda understands that Tom has greater ambitions than the warehouse, but she is worried seeing Tom stay out late like his father once did. Where does he go at night? Tom reiterates that he goes to the movies. He needs the adventure that is so patently absent in his career: "Man is by instinct a lover, a hunter, a fighter, and none of those instincts is given much play at the warehouse." Amanda does not want to hear about the play of instinct: it is the province of animals and not a concern of Christian adults.
Tom is impatient to get to work, but Amanda has not yet told him what she meant to tell him. She is worried about Laura's future. Nothing that Amanda has tried to do to integrate Laura into the rest of the world has worked; she just plays records and fiddles with her glass collection. Amanda knows Tom has gotten a letter from the Merchant Marine. She knows he is itching to leave. But she asks him to wait until Laura has someone to take care of her. And she implores him to find some clean-living man at the warehouse and bring him home to meet his sister. Heading down the fire escape he at last acquiesces to her appeal. Amanda makes another call for the magazine subscription drive. The light fades.