Symbolic illustration of Laura's hands holding a glass unicorn

The Glass Menagerie

by Tennessee Williams

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What are the conflicts and the setting in Act 1, Scene 1 of The Glass Menagerie?

Quick answer:

In Act 1, scene 1 of The Glass Menagerie, Tom tells the audience that he is going to tell them a story. He introduces all of the characters in this scene including his mother Amanda, his sister Laura, and himself Tom. They are living in an apartment in St. Louis and they have a glass menagerie (note plural) which is made up of various glass animals from their past lives (i.e., there are two cats, a swan, a camel). In this scene we learn about the mother's current job as a telephone operator and her former one as a dancer; we also learn about Laura's job at the library as well as her interests in poetry and running. Finally we learn about Tom'

Expert Answers

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The Glass Menagerie has three main characters: there is a mother and her two children. The mother is Amanda; she has a daughter named Laura and a son named Tom. Tom introduces and narrates the play.

The conflicts in this play have various sources. One set of conflicts comes from what an individual character wants and and can't attain. So, ask yourself: What does Tom want and can't get? What does Amanda want and can't get? What does Laura want and can't get?

Another set of conflicts comes from conflicts between preople. Are there any conflicts between the individual characters? Between the siblings? Between Amanda and her children?

As to the setting of this play: where and when does the play take place? This is answered on the first page and in the summary. Is it in a city or in the country? A house or an apartment? Is the family rich or poor?

If you are having trouble reading the play itself, click on the links below, and read the enotes summary of the play and the descriptions of the characters.

Good luck.

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