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Conflict in the Glass Menagerie Essay

Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie revolves around the harsh realities that theWingfield’s family has to face. The first reality that they have to deal with is their father’s abandonment. After his departure, atom, his son had to take the responsibility of providing for his family. Amanda, his wife, had to do all that she could to ensure that her daughter, Laura, had a successful life. Having already realized that her life while she was still young was over, she tried to make her daughter achieve what she had missed in her twilight years. Her memories of all the suitors that she had turned down made her have the urge to ensure that her daughter did not miss those opportunities. Unfortunately for her, Laura was shy and withdrawn from the society. She even tried enrolling her in a business course but she dropped out due to feeling uncomfortable among her peers. Amanda did not give up. She went ahead to arrange for her daughter to meet suitors. She did so much that she asked Tom to find her sister a suitor from the ware house where he worked. The Glass Menagerie seeks to show the conflicts that may arise due to differences in our motives.

The conflict in this short story arises from the fact that the characters in the story tend to have the intention of living in both the real and fantasy world. However, that is almost impossible. As a result they find themselves entangled in their desires and are left heartbroken and desperate as they do not achieve all the things that they hope to achieve. Their desperation is clearly evident from the choices that they make. Moreover, it is profoundly spoken through their extreme actions in order to attain their selfish goals without considering those that they may be implicating in their fantasies.

The first conflict is illustrated through Amanda’s desire to live the twilight years that she did not take advantage of during the past years. As a result, she drags her daughter into this fantasy by forcing her to do things that she does not desire to do. For instance, she enrolls her daughter in a business course so that she may have a chance to meet suitors who are successful in life. When she learns that her daughter has dropped out of school, she asks her son to find Laura, his sister a suitor from the warehouse where he works. As if that was not enough, she goes ahead to arrange for a dinner at home where Jim, Laura’s suitor, is introduced to Laura. Amanda even makes sure that her daughter has worn a new dress in order to impress Jim. However, Laura does not like the idea and refuses to join them at the dinner table by feigning sickness. This is an indication that there was conflict of purpose as Laura did not agree with her mother’s idea.


Another conflict is illustrated through Tom’s desire to flee himself from his job at the warehouse. He intends to join the merchant marine. However, he does not have the money he needs to join the marine. He, therefore, uses his family’s money that was intended to pay for the electricity bill. Eventually, Tom leaves his family. His intention was to look after his family but his fantasy of leaving the job that he loathes at the warehouse overtakes him. He leaves but later regrets having left his family. He is especially disturbed about the affection that he feels for his sister. He feels bad and is haunted by the thoughts of how he abandoned his family in order to fulfill his dreams.

Laura, on the other hand, suffers an inner pain form the fear that she clings to. This is because she had always set her eyes on Jim since the years when they were still in high school. This fear makes her restless and on the day that Jim comes for dinner at her house, she had to feign illness. This fear helps her understand that she is disturbed about her physical appearance. She begins to understand that this could have made her feel secluded from the rest of the society. This brings the personal conflict that Laura has been experiencing throughout her life about whether she feels confident enough. It is only after she warms up to Jim that she realizes how much her fear had cost her social life. This fear had made her not to be able to integrate with the rest o the society. She learns that her fear had made her result to turning to the glass menagerie that she very much adored and her unicorn. However, she, eventually, manages to let go.

The conflict in this short story all tend to ensure that each individual achieves their happiness. The author manages to reach out the reader on the importance to reach out to one’s dreams. However, it is aloes important to consider the implications that this may have on the people around us. Moreover, it is important to go after what we want provide d that our intentions remain pure. When Tom decides to leave his job and family, he does so in order to find his happiness. However, he is also sad since he misses his sister. However, provided we find the satisfaction that we require in order to move on, we should always go ahead to pursue our dreams.