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Gender & Sexuality in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

In: English and Literature

Submitted By BlakeA
Words 592
Pages 3
Brick Pollitt is described by Williams as very charming and the embodiment of masculinity. However, as the play progresses the subject of the type of relationship he had with his now deceased close friend Skipper is being brought up by members of the family constantly. Brick states that it was the only true and good thing in his life. The fact that he describes their apparent platonic relationship as 'true' may point to the fact that Brick was in fact homosexual despite his constant denial and that their relationship meant so much more than people realised.

After Skipper’s death Brick became a heavy drinker, throughout the play Brick is often described as having an alcoholic drink or empty glass. Brick uses alcohol as a measure to withdraw from the world, as many people do and try to suppress his grief and forget about his intimate relationship and love for Skipper. Brick’s heavy consumption of alcohol clearly has an effect as several times throughout the play Brick is seen as emotionless and seems like he’s never fully present except in a few scenes.

It is interesting to note that the word gay or homosexual is never used in the play. Only the word ‘queer’ is used. Brick constantly denies having a homosexual with Skipper. This can be seen when Brick goes on a rant; “You think so, too?You think so, too? You think me an’ Skipper did, did, did! -somody!ʼ-together?” The fact that Brick gets so uptight when the subject is brought up and that he even stutters shows that it’s a touchy subject and that Brick was hiding something. It must also be noted that the time in which the play was set (mid 40’s-50’s) plays a great role in why Brick was hiding his sexuality. In those time the idea of being homosexual was hardly a thought and was never even brought up, so of course Brick denied his sexuality several times when questioned about it.

Bricks’ wife Margaret often gave him a very hard time when it came to their ‘love triangle’ and she often brought it up several times in a negative light. Margaret often says that she was just there for the public eye so people wouldn’t become suspicious of the homosexual nature between the two friends. When they were still in high school the 3 of them would go on dates and Margaret said that it was like Brick and Skipper were on the dates solely together. However, it’s hard not to blame Margaret as she is clearly deeply in love with Brick who doesn’t love her back. She is neglected several times throughout and it’s hard for the reader not to feel bad for Margaret after each desperate attempt.

"In this way I destroyed him, by telling him truth that he and his world which he was born and raised in, yours and his world, had told him could not be told?” Maggie has seen the destructive power of truth, its ability to kill. Truth kills when what it reveals lies outside of societal expectations.

The characterisation of Brick brings out the theme of manliness and homosexuality in the book as it delves into their questionable relationship. Brick is a ‘brick of a man’ and embodies masculinity, he is also seen as Big Daddy’s favourite son who is meant to take over the plantation after Big Daddy’s death. However, it can be seen that Brick doesn’t want to admit his relationship with Skipper because of being afraid of disappointing his father.

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