The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

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How does Tom justify abandoning his family in The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams?

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Tom Wingfield has a lot of reasons for wanting to leave home in The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams. His mother, Amanda, is annoying and is constantly nagging at him about how he eats and what he does with his free time and money. She even returns one of his books to the library because she thinks he should not be reading it and she does not want it in her house. He finally explodes at her, reminding her that he is a virtual slave to his job, to this house, and to her. 

It is true that that Amanda works, but it is Tom's salary which ensures that Amanda and Laura have a place to stay, and he has become resentful. He knows they need him there, but he has a wandering spirit (like his father) and wants to join the Merchant Marines so he can travel the world. In fact, his only escape is the movies, which is a poor substitute for actual travel. Amanda does not understand this need/desire (or perhaps she does and is afraid of it), and that only frustrates Tom more.

And finally, Amanda wants...

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