Symbolic illustration of Laura's hands holding a glass unicorn

The Glass Menagerie

by Tennessee Williams

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Explain an unresolved conflict in Scene 4 of The Glass Menagerie.

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In my mind, the relationship between Amanda and Tom is still unresolved at the end of scene four.  There is some calm brought back to the home, which was not the case in the previous scene as Tom left calling Amanda an "ugly—babbling old—witch."  Amanda and Tom sit down and discuss both of their primary motivations.  For the mother, it is marrying off Laura and for the son, it is departure.  Amanda's need for Tom to bring an acquaintance for Laura as a gentleman caller is matched by Tom's lack of zeal towards it.  At the end of the scene, there are sources of tension that are unresolved.  Tom wants out, yet he does not seem to view Amanda's proposition as a means to guarantee his freedom.  He dislikes living with his mother and seeks escape from her, but is also mindful of repeating the same sins of abandonment as his father.  At the same time, there is a sense of the unresolved as to whether or not Amanda hoping to find a man for Laura is a desire motivated out of the well- being for her daughter, or to simply add to her own image.  Both Amanda and Tom represent the unresolved nature of different conflicts at the end of the scene.

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