Discuss the significance of Tom's inner conflicts in terms of the narrative of the drama.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the overall significance of Tom's inner conflicts are to suggest that what plagues us internally cannot merely be escaped from due to physical changes.  Tom believes that his inner conflicts about boredom with his job, disdain for his responsibilities, and his torn feelings about his family can all be removed through a physical "quick fix" of leaving.  Yet, Williams constructs these realities to be ones in which there is resonance within the individual.  Williams constructs Tom to be a character that is still clearly conflicted even after leaving and declaring some type of physical independence.  It is in this where I think that some of the strongest elements about inner conflicts are revealed within the drama's narrative.  Inner conflicts are not merely to be escaped when one physically leaves.  Rather, they stay within the individual and must be fully understood in the psychological condition of the individual.  The inner conflicts within the individual are ones shown to be intrinsic to the individual, something that can only leave when there is a deeper and more thorough understanding of the inner division that lies within the soul of the individual.  In this, Tom is all human beings, and we, in turn, represent much of what Tom does.


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