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The Glass Menagerie

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  • April 2007
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The theme of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie is conflict. The play contains both internal and external conflict. The absence of Tom's father forces external turmoil and conflict between Tom the protagonist, and his mother the antagonist. The internal conflict is seen within Tom through his constant references to leaving home and his selfishness. The play is about a young aspiring poet named Tom, who works at a shoe warehouse. Tom is unhappy with is life at home mainly because of his overbearing, over protective mother named Amanda. Tom also has a sister within the play named Laura who chooses to isolate herself from the rest of society. During the play Tom's relationship with his mother is filled with very harsh and abrasive arguments. The constant bickering and aggravation Tom endures leads him into a state of negligence and cruelty towards his family. Tom then seeks adventure and comfort by going out to the movies every night. As a result, Amanda makes accusations about his visits to the movies and believes he is hiding something. Amanda and Tom have a large argument that ends with Tom insulting his mother by calling her a "witch". After apologizing Tom is granted the task of finding Laura a male caller. Tom introduces Laura to one of her previous classmates named Jim O'Connor and she soon learns he is engaged. Amanda accuses Tom of introducing the two for amusement and proceeds to make comments about his selfish nature. Tom, exasperated by his mother's comments decides to leave home for good. Throughout the play Tom is portrayed as selfish, cowardly, and a dreamer. William's depiction of Tom is that of a selfish character. Tom's selfishness is seen in the constant references to his dreams of adventure and cruelty towards Amanda and Laura. Instead of caring for his mother and sister, Tom chooses to engage in his own contentment by going to the movies every night. For example, Amanda says, "Don't let anything interfere with your selfish pleasure! Just...

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