Conflicts Between Characters In The Glass Menagerie

1085 words - 4 pages

The Glass Menagerie is a tale of a family caught up in their own deep struggles and sometimes selfish dreams. Throughout this memory play, the Wingfield’s struggles and conflicts lie deep within themselves, but also with each other. Laura and Tom each have profound conflicts with their mother, Amanda. What Laura wants for herself is completely different from what Amanda wants for her, as it is with Tom and Amanda. Laura’s quiet, timid life with her glass figurines greatly differs from the vivacious, successful, gentlemen- seeking life that Amanda wishes her to pursue. And Tom wants to escape the stifling home he inhabits with his mother and sister, and become lost in literature, movies, liquor, and adventure, and just get away, like his father did. But Amanda wants Tom to become a thriving businessman, and simply escape the shoe factory that employs him. These conflicts complicate the relationships that the characters hold with each other, and the world. The conflicts that divide Laura and Amanda, and Amanda and Tom, not only obscure their ties with each other, but ultimately weaken their grasp on reality.
Throughout the play, Tom and Amanda continually feud. Tom is working-class citizen employed in a shoe factory. Usually, he seems fine with this, but always seems to be sneaking off to write poems, to the point that he gets fired for writing one on a shoebox lid. And when this lifestyle doesn’t please him, he loses himself in literature, such as D.H. Lawrence. And then even further loses himself in alcohol or his frequent trips to the movies. He’s caught between staying at the shoe factory and supporting and attempting to please his family, and going off on his own, like his father. Amanda, on the other hand, wants Tom to be a well-rounded businessman, and help his sister find suitors. Amanda doesn’t want him out drinking and watching movies, nor does she want him reading things like D.H. Lawrence, saying she “won’t allow such filth brought into my house”, even though Tom pays the rent. Regardless of whose house he lives in, he doesn’t always seem to be there, which bothers Amanda. She claims that Tom can find adventure in his career at the warehouse, after a particularly brutal disagreement between her and Tom. But Tom can’t find these things in his so-called career, or his life. Tom states that “Man is by instinct a lover, a hunter, a fighter” and that he can’t satisfy those things at the warehouse. Amanda tells his Christian adults do not live by instinct, yet again creating another dividing difference between them. These things drive Tom even further away from his mother, until he eventually deserts them, as she continues to frown upon his nightly excursions and eating habits, much to the dismay of Laura.
Laura, the other Wingfield, lives in her feeble world of glass objects that are as breakable as she is. As a slight cripple, she shies away from the world, hiding among glass unicorns and other figurines, and listening to her...

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