Cat Essay Hot Roof Tin

As the author of The Glass Menagerie (1944), the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), and many other plays, Tennessee Williams was one of the leading American dramatists of the twentieth century. Born in Mississippi, Williams used the South and southerners as a vehicle for exploring the confusing and even inexplicable minds and relationships of human beings. Although his plays have been criticized as too symbolic and theatrical, as well as philosophically murky, no one disputes his success in creating a gallery of memorable characters who grapple with some of humankind’s most significant issues: love, sex, power, age, family, self-awareness, honesty, the past, dreams, and death.

At once tragic and comic, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which won the Pulitzer Prize in drama, examines the mysterious and even grotesque interconnections that define a family. The play also delineates the struggle of individuals within the family to define a self. On the surface, the play is realistic: The lapsed time of the story is equal to the time of performance; the characters are complex and human; the situation, a family birthday party, is ordinary. Yet despite the surface realism, the play can better be described as expressionistic. The set Williams calls for is dominated by a large bed and large liquor cabinet symbolizing sex and escape. The language is poetic, and the characters have nearly as many monologues as conversations. The action, too, is episodic and symbolic. The specific tensions of the Pollitt family are staged in a series of emblematic confrontations: husband and wife, youth and age, past and present, wealth and poverty, homosexuality and heterosexuality, truth and lies, love and hate, life and death.

Williams does not, however, allow the audience to choose one option over another or even to define each term clearly. Although he favors life and honesty, for example, he never promises that either is possible or even always desirable. Each side has its allure and validity. Big Daddy and Maggie are most directly associated with life and truth, yet both have important limitations. Maggie yearns for a child and vows to restore Brick to life; she insists that...

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Dysfunctional Families in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, by Tennessee Williams

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Dysfunctional Families in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, by Tennessee Williams

Dysfunction and volatility is common amongst families. These families dislike their kin and often resent them. In the play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, by Tennessee Williams, the Politt family does not function as a normal family. Brick, Maggie, and Big Daddy are three members of the family that have the most problems that affect the whole family.

     Brick, Maggie’s alcoholic husband, is an uncaring man who has no good feelings toward his wife. For example, when Maggie buys a gift for Brick to give to Big Daddy on his birthday and Maggie wants Brick to sign the card, he says “No… I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do”(28). Even on Big…show more content…

Maggie feels terribly unloved in her marriage with Brick. Because of her unfulfilling marriage with Brick, she seeks affection and attention with someone close to Brick. In addition, when Mae interrupts Maggie and Brick from conversing by talking about her own children and how adorable they are, Maggie says, “why did y’give dawgs names to all your kiddies... sounds like four dogs and a parrot”(29). Maggie has a grudge Mae because she has many children with Gooper. Maggie feels insecure about having children, so she mocks Mae and her offspring to reassure herself and make her self feel better. Margaret has a dreadful relationship with Brick and also with Mae and her kids.

     Big Daddy, an old man with cancer, plays favorites with members of his family and dislikes his wife. For example, when Big Daddy is talking with Brick, and finds Mae at the door, Big Daddy says, “I don’t want you, I want some privacy here… with my son Brick”(62). Big Daddy only likes Brick and shows disgust for everyone else. Even though they are family, Big Daddy acts like they are the scum of the earth. Furthermore, when Big Mama tries to walk into Big Daddy and Brick’s talk, Big Daddy doesn’t let her in and says that “all [he] ask[s] of that woman is that she leave [him] alone [and that] she makes [him] sick”(71-2). The woman he vowed to be with forever is now completely repulsive to him. Big Daddy can’t even

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