The Glass Menagerie Questions and Answers
by Tennessee Williams

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In The Glass Menagerie what conflicts does Tennessee Williams develop in the first three scenes of the play?

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It is immediately apparent in the first scene of this play that there is conflict between Amanda Wingfield and her son. Although he is an adult, she badgers him about his table manners, telling him "If you have to push with something, the thing to push with is a crust of bread" among other directives. Tom objects, telling her "I haven't enjoyed one bite of this dinner because of your constant directions on how to eat it." Their bickering continues as he leaves the table to smoke a cigarette, and in response, she tells him "you smoke too much." Amanda is a micromanager with little self-awareness. When Laura tries to dispel the bad feeling by offering to bring in the dessert, she is rebuffed by Amanda. The unhealthy dynamic among the three is established by Amanda's persistent efforts to dominate her adult children.

Amanda's unhappiness with the way her life has turned out is another source of conflict. She speaks of her popularity as a young woman and how she chose the wrong man when she...

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