“To begin with, I turn bark time. I reverse it to that quaint period, the thirties, when the huge middle class of America was matriculating in a school for the blind.” During the 1930’s many Americans faced turmoil in their everyday lives, due to the financial instability present. This time period, known as the Great Depression contained an extraordinarily high unemployment rate. As a result, many families relied heavily on those in their families who did have jobs.
Seeing that Mr. Wingfield have left the family many years ago, Tom was the only one left in the family with a real job. However, Tom did not like his job at the warehouse. Many times Tom dreamed of doing something much more spectacular in his life, search for adventure, and try to reach his dreams. ” More and more you remind me of your father! He was out all hours without explanation – Then left! Good-bye! And me with the bag to hold. I saw that letter you got from the Merchant Marine. I know what you’re dreaming of. As soon as Laura has got somebody to take care of her, married, a home of her own, independent ?- why, then you’ll be free to go wherever you please, on land, on sea, whichever way the wind blows you !” Tom wants more in his everyday life, yet is the only one with a job, he has to stay and help support his family. “What right have you got to jeopardize your job – jeopardize the security of us all? How do you think we’d manage if you were -” Many times in the play his mother, Amanda, emphasizes how important he is to the family. This creates an internal conflict within Tom, should he stay and help his family thus leaving his dreams behind, or should he abandon his family just like his father had and search for adventure. “I descended the step of this fire-escape for a last time and followed, from then on, in my father’s footsteps, attempting to find in motion what was lost in space – I travelled around a great deal.” By the end of the play you find out that he had picked abandoning his family in search of his dreams.
Amanda and Tom also have many person vs. person conflicts throughout the story, all based around his job, and his search of adventure. At one point Amanda is spatting with Tom about his job. Tom clearly does not like working at the warehouse but he does it to help support the family. “House, house ! Who pays rent on it, who makes a slave of himself to” Even though, Tom makes a slave of himself to help pay for everything his mother is always saying how he is selfish and only ever thinking of himself. “But I get up. I go! For sixty-five dollars a month I give up all that I dream of doing and being ever! And you say self – selfs’ all I ever think of. Why, listen, if self is what I thought of, Mother, I’d be where he is -G 0 N E !” Tom not wishing to continue the fighting decides to go the movies. However, Amanda does not believe he goes to the movies this often, she even says, ” I don’t believe that lie !.” In retaliation Tom spouts about many horrible things that he could possibly be doing. “You ugly – babbling old – witch.” He called his own mother a witch, creating an even bigger barrier between the two. Amanda vows that she will not speak to him until he apologizes. By the next scene this spat has been solved however, the barrier between the two characters grows due to their opposing viewpoints. Tom wishing to search for adventure, and his mother wanting him to stay and help the family financially. You can see who won out in the end.