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Dragan Hardi

Professor Moira P. Baker


Voices and Visions of 20th -Century America
5 May 2014
The Representation of the Contemporary Family of the 1950s South
in Willimas's Play ''Cat on a Hot Roof Tin''

In this short essay I will focus on a representation of three relationships, three families in
Williams's play. I will try to show how each one of those families is trying their best to depict
themselves as best as possible, while all being full of lies and deceptions. I will provide some
examples from the play that accurately show what kind of lies the people are using for the
''most disgusting and sordid reason on earth... greed'' (Williams 82).
To start with, there is an oldest couple, Big Daddy and Big Mama. Throughout the play, they
do seem like a couple who is doing decently for their years, but, when Bid Daddy confesses to
his son Brick, it becomes clear that their whole marriage was a lie. Although Big Mama turns
out to be madly in love with Big Daddy, because of his charm, Williams gives us an insight
into Big Daddy's thought process, upon which I can conclude, beyond doubt, that their love is
one-sided, and that their marriage is based on a lie. ''I slept with Big Mama till, let's see, five
years ago, till I was sixty and she was fifty-eight, and never even liked her, never did''
(Williams 48).
Secondly, there's a relationship between Gooper and Mae. Their marriage seems to be the
only functional one. They threat each other with respect, and they have a lot of children,
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which, at first, made me believe that they truly love each other. But, near the end of the play,
Gooper suddenly changes his behavior towards Mae, when his heritage comes into question.
''God damn it, I said to shut up'' (Williams 87). They are obviously just pretending to get
along well, in order to get a financial profit.
Lastly, there is a marriage between Brick and Margaret. At the beginning of the play Williams
presents this marriage like dysfunctional. Two of them openly talk about how they can't stand
each other. Margaret even says ''I'm not living with you. We occupy the same cage'' (Williams
13). But, as the progresses, this couple turns out to be the only honest one. In the end, I think
that the fate of this couple is left open ended. Margaret does claim that she loves Brick, and
Brick is actually a good guy who had some problems in his life that made him become
alcoholic. I think that the only obstacle in their marriage is that Brick has some inner conflicts
which cloud his judgment, so he's unable to see how Margaret loves him. In the end, when
Margaret states her love for him, he responds ''Wouldn't it be funny if that was true''
(Williams 91).








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Works cited
Williams, Tennessee. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Voices and Visions of 20th-Century America.
Web. 5 May 2014.