Review on “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”

Tennessee Williams is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1948 and 1955, he wrote one of the most famous plays, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. This book first was published in Great Britain by Martin Secker and Warbung Ltd in 1956, and then published by Penguin Book in 1957. This play was presented at the Morosco Theater in  New York on 24th of March 1955 by the playwrights’ Company. The director was Elia Kazan.

The book has three acts, including the Broadway version. Kazan, the director of the play suggested that Big Daddy was too vivid and important and should not disappear from the play. Brick should undergo some apparent mutation as a result of the conversation with his father. Margaret should be more clearly sympathetic. The third act (Broadway version) is better realized, with a clear motive and ending.

The setting is on the plantation house of the Pollit family, in the American South in the Mississippi Delta, one summer evening. The characters are : Big Daddy, Big Mamma, the two sons, Brick and Cooper. Margaret is Brick’s wife whereas Mae is Cooper’s wife. Dixie, Trixie are Mae and Coopers’s kids. Reverent Tooker is the preacher, a close friend of the family. Doctor Baugh is the family doctor. Lacey and Sookey are African-American servants.

Jack Straw and Peter Ochelo are a pair of old bachelors from which Big Daddy inherited 28 acres of the plantation. Big Daddy is sick, he has a cancer and on his birthday they make up a lie and told everyone he has plastic colon. Both Cooper and Brick, who is alcoholic and sport announcer on the television, want the plantation more than their wives. Brick finished his sport career because of injury, and after the death of his best friend he started drinking. After the conversation with his father Brick understood what the problem was with him. Brick is explaining to his father that between him and Skipper there is nothing more than just a friends, which was contrary from what everyone in the house thought. Brick married Margaret after graduation but they do not sleep together. Brick sleeps on the sofa.

Evening, the party starts. The kids are there as well as the preacher and the doctor. After the dinner, Big Daddy is talking to Brick in the room. Brick is telling him that when he was in hospital Margaret was sleeping with Skipper. Big Daddy tries to discover what the reason is for Brick being drunk every day, but Mae and Cooper are interrupting. They try to listen their conversation. There are lots of catty talks in the house, like always truth or lies were told from Big Mama. Big Daddy suspects that maybe they are hiding something from him and repeats ‘Lying, Dying and Liars’. When Big Daddy goes to sleep, the doctor revels the truth to Big Mama and the reports from the clinic.  She can not believe that Big Daddy is going to die.

Cooper says that he made a  dummy-trusteeship, because he did not want his brother to take over the plantation. Big Mamma is furious and does not accept that explanation as the Big Daddy is still alive and no one is taking his place. A storm is coming, outside it is raining. Big Daddy wake up and comes in the gallery where Margaret announces that she is pregnant and is expecting a child. Cooper and Mae know that is a lie. Big Daddy is happy after hearing the news so he goes on the roof to look over his kingdom before he give it up.

In this book, the characters are well illustrated and all of them are greedy and catty especially the women. The are like cats. They are rich and civilized, but under the veneer the writer discovers their real faces. Family tensions, also sexuality and loneliness are the main themes. There are lots of questions, Big Daddy does not live his wife, Brick maybe is homosexual, and Cooper might not be Big Daddy’s child.

The human nature is explicitly exploited,  portraying how envy, greed and egocentric people can be. The title is appropriate for this play. The woman is described like a cat, proven by Margaret when she addresses to herself as that. She stays on that tin roof until she gets what she wants. In the end, she is the winner. She is like a cat, knows everything, listens to everything and never gives up. At the very end the egocentric nature of their existence is discovers and their real faces come to the surface.

One of the issues when this piece of art is read worldwide, many would comment on the description for the servants. They are being described as Negroes. Nowhere in the book the weather was mentioned, not even as a symbol of the tension that is coming. The children are referred to as a non check monsters, however they are not guilty of anything. Moreover, the characters use a lot of curses and words like ‘son of a bitch’  and ‘god damn’.

What could be concluded for this wonderful piece of art is that sometimes people have to be like cats in order to accomplish what they want. However it is very hard on they path to success to most likely hurt the family. Life is not always long and beautiful, there are moments where the roof is tin and in a seconds it might go to ruins, smash down or raise you up.

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