The conflict between Tom and Amanda

Question: Describe the conflict between Tom and Amanda.


“The Glass Menagerie” is a famous memory play by Tennessee Williams in which Tom, besides being the narrator of the drama, is one of the participators. His mother, Amanda, is a middle-aged abandoned wife and single mother. In this play, we can see that throughout the play, there always remains a clash between this mother and son.

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Reasons for conflict

We can find a number of reasons behind the conflict between Tom and Amanda. Such as-

Desire to live one’s own life

The main reason or we can say the overall reason behind their conflict is one is a barrier to the other’s lifestyle. Tom always wants to live his life with his style. He is a kind of free-minded person. He does not like trapped life. But Amanda pushes him to be serious about his family and his own life. Once, Tom brought a novel by D. H. Lawrence, but Amanda does not want him to read such type of highly immoral books.


As Tom’s father has gone away leaving them alone, all the responsibilities come to Tom’s shoulder. He has to work hard to earn for his family. Basically, Tom is faded up with his life. He has anger at his father, because if his father did not leave them, he may not need to work so hard. He angrily says that-

“I’m like my father. The bastard son of a bastard!”

He wants to run away from this kind of responsibility, but when Amanda comes to know this, he scolds Tom saying how he can be so irresponsible.

Frustration of life

Another reason behind their conflict is the frustration of life. Amanda is frustrated about her life and the future of her children. She is so worried about Laura as she is crippled, and also about Tom as he is so irresponsible. On the other hand, Tom’s frustration is about his trapped life. He cannot lead his life as he wants. As he says-

“Whenever I pick up a shoe, I shudder a little thinking about how short life is and what I am doing!”

So their frustration enraged their temperament and they involved in a quarrel.

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Thus, the mother-son conflict covers almost the whole of the play. It is clear to us that the relation between Amanda and Tom is not so good, just because of the harsh reality of their life.

S Ridoy Kumar
S Ridoy Kumar
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