Carol Storm's Reviews > Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams
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's review
Jul 19, 2011

really liked it

I loved this play as a teenager -- the feverish pace, the soaring poetry of the big speeches, the way Big Daddy was everything my father wasn't and the way Maggie keeps sighing over Brick. But after thirty years of living, I just don't read this play in the same way. There are so many things I swallowed whole as a teen that seem laughably far-fetched as an adult.

Brick is a thirty year old man. Not a fifteen year old boy. Yet he still doesn't know if he's gay or straight? I mean, come on! His self-doubt resonated with me as a teen, but now it just seems silly. A real gay man -- if he were gay -- would have done a lot more than just shake hands with Skipper every night. And a real straight man -- especially a gorgeous football star from a very wealthy family -- would have had lots, and lots, and lots of women besides Maggie The Cat!

Maggie is just as unreal as Brick. Sexual attraction is all very well, but at some point wouldn't she notice that Brick is weak-willed, irresponsible, cowardly, and selfish? She keeps saying that she'll "die" if he doesn't make love to her again. She never praises any of his personality traits, just his phenomenal good looks. How many marriages are really like this? Even when she admits he's weak, she goes into a big speech about "you weak, beautiful people" like Brick's spineless alcholic need to leech off everyone else is incredibly poignant and sweet. Where is this woman from???

What you really have here is a gay man pining over an unobtainable fantasy, not a real woman trying to create a working marriage with a real man. Maggie fixates on all the most unreal things -- Brick's phenomenal beauty (which magically gets even more irresistable once he becomes a hopeless drunk) his childlike helplessness, his inability to protect himself, his parents or his wife . . . all things that would send a real-life woman running for the hills.

Notice that it's the "evil" characters, Mae and Gooper, who have the concerns real married people actually have, i.e. raising their children, obtaining financial security, putting down roots.

In what universe are these the bad guys?
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02/15/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Arthur Graham Good points here, although Mae and Gooper are definitely evil! Brick's clearly no saint either, but no matter how repressed he may or may not be, he's still the most honest person in the room. Rest assured that I'd be drinkin' just as hard if I had to contend with such mendacity...

message 2: by Stephen (new)

Stephen It's sometime hard to remember just how backward folks could be in the 50's in the south. I suggest that your more recent experiences are overshadowing your memory of just how repressed times were back then.

Cynda We live in a time when gay men are better accepted and now have legal rights. In 1955, a very,differentm
world. And it is Skipper who has more feelings than Brick. Brick may hage had some, but it is repressed. I remeber when gay men were married to women and started divorcing because society was beginning to change, and these men could stop being repressed. Brick and Skipper don't really have that option of having an openly repressed relationship.
A possible reason Maggie talks about the physical aspects of Grick is because sex is on her hrain as her sexuality is being repressed as well. Sex Repression soundingmout like a catmon a hot tin roof.

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