Do any of the characters in The Glass Menagerie fit Jung's fundemental terms for archetypes, and, if so, why?Jung:  Archetype, it is a kind of conceptional instinct.  

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Interestingly, there are ways in which the characters in The Glass Menagerie violate Jung's archetypes. For instance, the father archetype is characterized as stern, powerful, controlling, yet the father in the play is frivolous and leaves, taking absolutely no control whatsoever. The mother, Amanda, is a more complicated contradiction of the mother archetype. Jung contends that the female animus may be made up of several parts, while the mother archetype is characterized as feeding, nurturing, soothing.

Amanda often is misunderstood and seen for her surface qualities alone, however, while she is controlling and, in her own way, stern (father archetype), she also is often feeding the other characters, trying to be nurturing of both Tom and Laura by trying to help them see a bigger picture in life and prepare for their futures, and soothing by trying to find and implement alternate plans when her children sabotage her first well-made plans for insuring their futures.

Tom is in part the hero since he is seen and positioned as the rescuer, but this is a role he eschews and ultimately abdicates when he runs away because he feels overburdened by Laura's helplessness and Amanda's realistic sense of desperation. Laura in ways fits the maiden archetype in that she represents maidenly purity combined with aspiring desire, but in some ways she is also a trickster since she habitually lives with the habit of deceiving. Jim has archetypal hero qualities (rescuer, champion), but his intended mate is not Laura, so he cannot rescue her.

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The Glass Menagerie

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