The major conflict in “The Glass Menagerie” is the feeling of hopelessness that each of the Wingfield’s struggles with. Amanda’s hopelessness comes from the feeling that she isn’t as important as she once was, as though her fame/glory is slowly fading away. It is this fear that causes her to push Laura to become more socially accepted and popular with others. Laura is extremely afraid of seeing Jim O’Connor, and beneath that we can see her insecurities about her physical appearance and her fear of being able to be a productive member of society. Tom’s desire to create poetry stems from his fear of being stuck in a job where he feels he won’t make a difference, that isn’t taking him anywhere career-wise, or that isn’t challenging to him.
“The Glass Menagerie” is drawn from the memories of Tom Wingfield, Amanda’s son, who works in a shoe warehouse to support his mom and sister after Mr. Wingfield ran out on them several years ago. Throughout the play, we hear stories of Amanda’s glorious youth, and it seems to me at times that she is almost allowing herself to get caught up in that life in order to not have to live in the grim reality she faces.
Part of what makes the plot of “The Glass Menagerie” so entertaining is that it is a memory play. As Tom pieces together his memories of events over the years, we start to form a picture in our minds of the way their lives have really been.
Along with Tom’s misery in his job and Amanda’s search for financial stability for the family, there are several subplots throughout this play. One of the main subplots is Amanda’s desire to be accepted. Living life as with a brace on her leg has left her extremely shy and introverted. While she longs to be popular and to be one of the “normal” kids, she can’t seem to push past her fears/insecurities for long enough to do so. Even when her mother tries to send her to a business college, helping her...