Book #17: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, by Tennessee Williams

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

I finished reading this play within the last hour, and I’m not quite sure how I feel about it just yet. Since it’s written by Tennessee Williams, it’s bound to be good, but I can’t quite tell how good. I really enjoyed both The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire, but I was also very familiar with these two before I read them. I’m obviously familiar with some of the general themes found in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (I’d be a bad Pop Culture Studies major if I wasn’t), but I didn’t know much about the plot beforehand.

I think part of the reason I’m unsure about this one is that it’s so different from the other Williams works I’ve read. The action in this play takes place consecutively, unlike The Glass Menagerie or Streetcar, both of which cover sprawling time periods. This is also a play with much more vulgar language than the other two, something I found a bit surprising considering its 1955 publication date. And, of course, a large portion of the plot deals with homosexuality, which certainly wasn’t the most blasé topic of the 1950s.

So, again, I’m a bit confused. I enjoyed the story, but I found the characters to be frustrating. It was also a bit more difficult for me to follow this story because the acts (not scenes, like in the previous Williams works I’ve read) feature interactions among much larger groups of people, rather than the one-on-one exchanges found in The Glass Menagerie and Streetcar. I guess the one thing I am sure of, though, is that I’m very interested to watch the 1958 film adaptation, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman. Maybe seeing the play on screen will help me to flush out my feelings.

Only two more Williams plays left for me: A Period of Adjustment and The Night of the Iguana. Since I know nothing about either of these, maybe I’ll be better at comprehending my feelings by the end of it all. Who knows?

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