The Glass Menagerie

Lesson 4


Students will be able to explain how the playwright develops the conflict in scene 3.

Readings and Materials

Target Task


Question 1

As presented in scene 3, Tom is best described as


a dreamer stifled by the responsibility of providing for his family.


an argumentative son disrespectful of his mother and sister.


an optimist who consistently looks on the bright side despite the grim reality.


a wild child who looks out only for his own enjoyment and satisfaction.

Question 2

What does the fire escape symbolize in the novel?


danger and its inescapable presence in the characters’ lives


a route out of the Wingfields’ depressing reality


hope for a brighter and happier future for the family


illusion and the immense power of dreams

Question 3

Describe what you have learned about each character so far, as well as the conflicts that exist between the characters. Use evidence from the text to support your answer.

Key Questions


  • How does the text on the screen help to establish the conflict between Amanda and her daughter? The conflict of the play? Trace how the central conflict develops in this scene.

  • The narrator uses a good deal of figurative language to establish the mood and background. What does he mean that the gentleman caller "haunted" their apartment? Or that mother needed to "properly feather the nest"?

  • What mood does the narrator establish through his introduction of the scene on p. 19? Which line most supports your answer?

  • p. 19: What is the most likely meaning of the word "sentence" as it is used on p. 19?

  • Continue to track the figurative language used by the characters in this scene.

  • p. 20: What do we learn about Tom through his outbursts and actions in this scene?

  • What do we learn about the relationship between Amanda and Tom? How does their relationship help to develop the theme of responsibility?

  • How else does Williams develop this theme in scene 3? (investigate Laura, conflict, menagerie, etc.)