Domestic Realism in Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

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Domestic Realism in Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Throughout the play of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" various members of the family are at loggerheads. However, this comes to a climax in this passage as Big Daddy's imminent death is confirmed and the question of the heir to the estate becomes an important issue. The Oxford Companion to American Literature describes the play as "depicting bitter, abnormal family tensions". These family tensions are clearly seen in this passage. Big Daddy is dying and the only characters who appear to be more concerned about his death than the estate are Big Mama and Maggie, "Precious Mommy. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry". Maggie is sorry for the death of Big Daddy and all the petty arguments surrounding it. "Big Daddy is not going to die" This denial of what the doctors have claimed as inevitable is evidence of her not wanting Big Daddy to die. Mae and Gooper, however, seem to be desperate to get rid of him. "Eventualities have to be considered and now's the time". This is inhumane of Gooper and he is wrong when he claims, "now's the time". Big Mama is still discovering Big Daddy is going to die and Gooper is forcing legalities on her. "Understanding is needed on this place". This is one of the truest comments within the play. Almost every member of family is at a disagreement with another. The family is very broken up and there is a lot of understanding needed to break these "abnormal family tensions". "I guess you must have needed a lot of it…with your father's liquor problem". This is a bitter comment and demonstrates the relationship between Maggie and Mae. Throughout this passage there is a c... ... middle of paper ... ...n Brick and Gooper due to this rivalry and that it is merely emphasised in this conflict. Before Tennessee Williams and some of his contemporise, such as Arthur Miller, theatrical dramas were often about a glamorised or sanitised version of domestic events rather than a realistic portrayal. However, Williams does not glamorise life and the events within "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" may be a realistic definement of family life in the 1950's. The Second World War had cost America many young lives. Therefore, the social conventions and family hierarchies may have been adjusting to life after the war. The emotions within the play are not sanitised but Tennessee Williams demonstrates the devastating effects of the family tensions. Williams rightly deserves the criticism of "Furthering domestic realism in American Drama".

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