- Critic's Review of the 2013 Play Revival
- Big Daddy and Brick's Talk (Movie Scene)
- Essay from 2010 AP English Student (Analyzing Judge Pyncheon's character)
- The House of the Seven Gables (Movie Trailer)
Thursday, March 3, 2016
Hello readers! To close off my blog posts for this section of the year (or probably ever), I provide a few additional links to enhance the experience of reading both The House of the Seven Gables and Cat On a Hot Tin Roof - just a few small things to make the reading experience better. If this is my last post on this blog, then I thank my teacher, classmates, and any other readers for following me on my journey through a few works of literature. Thanks for your time here, and maybe check out my personal film review blog that I shall be updating soon: Creeper's Reviews from the Abyss. Anyways, here are the links:
Reading through these two very different masterpieces has been a significant point in my journey through literature. Both have left deep impressions on my beauty-appreciative soul. Both essential meaning and the true commotion of life is brought to life through the wise lenses of these two very different authors. Nathaniel Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables explores the effects of previous ancestors on the current generation and the generation's superstitious gossip. Tennessee Williams' Cat On a Hot Tin Roof touches upon the taboo ideas of tender marital issues, homosexuality, impending death, and the reality of inheritance. Both literary works, though miles different in style, have a lot to do with the idea of inheritance and one's effect on the future generation. One could say that this step in my literary journey was an overall preparation for the future and the future generations to come.
Hawthornes' House of Seven Gables personifies the effect of a previous generation's gossip in such grave detail through delicate, stylish language. When I encountered this piece of work, I became immediately excited and intimidated by the complicated use of language throughout and the metaphorical bombs of wisdom dropped on the reader throughout the novel. This novel wasn't just a challenging piece of work, but an experience. The novel has broadened my horizon of language and fallen right into my line of wisdom. Hawthorne teaches a grand lesson about how what one person says can greatly effect the next generation to come. In this novel's case, those age-old words crafted a sort of "house" of superstition and decay. In his words, "A man will commit almost any wrong—he will heap up an immense pile of wickedness, as hard as granite, . . . only to build a great, gloomy, dark-chambered mansion, for himself to die in, and for his posterity to be miserable in" (269). The gossip and superstitions one creates will leave a dark, lasting impression on the future to come. It crafts a dark undertone that ensures everyone will keep away.
Where Hawthorne's magnificent novel focuses on the words and rumors surrounding the future generation, Williams' Cat On a Hot Tin Roof focuses more on the insurance of a future generation, accompanying the major idea of having the taboo brought to light. Williams' compelling play may be a speedy read, but it contains some of the most heavy subject matter ever established in another play. The spirit of commotion that Williams tried to capture in his play was the chaos of having one's most taboo secrets brought to light. Not many playwrights attempt to construct a play on a sole, abstract idea, but Williams achieves the true, unstable emotion of being caught in a bad lie very well. However, like Hawthorne, Tennessee Williams also crafts inheritance into the play as an idea. The play focuses more on making sure the next generation is preserved along with marital traditions. As said in the play, marriage falls on the rocks in the bedroom.
Nathaniel Hawthorne and Tennessee Williams are both fantastic authors, capturing heavy subjects and abstract ideas in very different ways. These literary marvels have helped broaden my range in both elegant language and comprehending the spirit of an utterly abstract emotion. These are truly meaningful literary masterpieces.
Word Count: 500 (minus passage citations)
Wednesday, March 2, 2016
In life, there are certain subjects the general public just don't speak of readily in a conversation. In Tennessee Williams' play, Cat On a Hot Tin Roof, many taboo subjects are established looming over the main characters, such as inevitable death, intimacy issues in marriage, and a homosexual past. Williams' goal in this play is to capture the build-up of these secrets being bottled up and the eventual explosion that occurs when these issues are brought to light. This signals the play's true theme to the reader - keeping the taboo issues in one's family hidden under a cloak of mendacity only leads to chaos and discomfort. Put more simply, lying to one's own family about a hefty, embarrassing issue only brings about an unstable relationship between that person and that person's family.The theme starts to become clear to the reader when Brick and Big Daddy are discussing what's been driving Brick to alcoholism. In the conversation, Brick claims he drinks to kill the disgust he has with the mendacity in the world, to which Big Daddy eventually exclaims, "You been passing the buck. This disgust with mendacity is disgust with yourself" (127)! They had been talking about lies being the foundation of their family, especially Brick's homosexual past. The true mendacity in this play is not just in Brick, but the whole family. Each, like real families, struggle keeping secrets from each other, which one can see leads to eventual chaos, as the play closes with Big Daddy contemplating his death and Maggie attempting to sleep with Brick at Big Daddy's party. Williams' captures the true chaos of not only the taboo being discussed in public but also the effect it has when kept secret for too long. They say the truth will set you free. However, the if kept for too long, the truth will only ruin things and disrupt the friendly flow you have with your family. All Williams' wanted to portray was that sensitive issues can be tolerated when brought to light sooner.
In the world in which we all live, there is a great cloak of mendacity being pulled off and finally exposed to the light. Issues people once kept heavily hidden under wraps are becoming easier and easier to discuss. Williams' true intent of writing this play was simply to wake people up. Just because the general public doesn't readily talk about an idea doesn't mean it will go away when ignored. In fact, it's pure mendacity.
Word Count: 400 (minus passage citation)
Thursday, February 11, 2016
"The bird that I hope to catch in the net of this play is not the solution of one man's psychological problem. I'm trying to catch the true quality of experience in a group of people, that cloudy, flickering, evanescent - fiercely charged! - interplay of live human beings in the thundercloud of a common crisis. Some mystery should be left in the revelation of character in a play, just as a great deal of mystery is always left in the in the revelation of character in life, even in one's own character to himself" (Williams 116-117)
One doesn't often see a hefty set of stage directions when reading through an average play script. However, Tennesse Williams manipulates his stage directions to conceal the meaning and tone of the entire play. Aside from assigning just mere movements for the characters, Williams goes on to describe his exact goal for the play's tone. He crafts the stage directions more as if he were composing a novel instead, with powerful diction and excited syntax.
The surprise insertion of these meaningful directions are in no way unintentionally placed. At this moment in the play, the atmosphere is taut, tense and awkward, which prompts Williams to be specific with how he sets the scene. He uses colorful words like "flickering" and "evanescent" in an excitable tone to paint the perfect picture of how naturally the scene is supposed to play out. Williams wants to capture the central emotion of people struggling through the chaos of the real world while also still leaving a sense of mystery behind.
As the reader progresses through the play, the reader should expect to see those wise directions applied. As the scene builds up tension, it becomes obvious that these directions have set the tone universally.
Word Count: 200
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
"We drank together that night all night . . . I said, 'SKIPPER! STOP LOVIN' MY HUSBAND OR TELL HIM HE'S GOT TO LET YOU ADMIT IT TO HIM!' . . . HE SLAPPED ME HARD ON THE MOUTH! . . . When I came to his room that night, with a little scratch like a sly little mouse at his door, he made that pitiful, ineffectual little attempt to prove that what I had said wasn't true . . . In this way, I destroyed him . . . (Williams 60)"
Williams, in crafting this passage, adjoins two different tones in an easily identifiable shift. The beginning of the passage is in all capital letters, as to signal the common tradition of someone shouting in the text. As the passage progresses, the author not only switches back to natural text but also uses small, sympathetic and defeated diction to bring the tone from extremely loud to an awkward, tense kind of softness. The author crafts this through the use of powerfully descriptive diction such as, "pitiful," "ineffectual," and "destroyed." At the conclusion of this passage the reader has traveled from a loud-mouthed description to an awkward blanket of quiet, covering the conversation.
Williams not only experiments with the diction to shape his tone, but also manipulates the syntax and adds in some literary devices. In the passage, the speaker says that she and the other character involved "drank together all night that night", and the intentionally poor syntax proves it. The words are arranged together in a way so repetitive and nonsensical that it sounds like something a child would say. The author embeds this in the passage with an intent of creating a kind of curious sense of doubt, making the reader question whether they should take this information seriously or not. Also, in addition to the small language mentioned previously, the author uses to simile to describe Skipper as "a sly little mouse". It adds to the small tone as does using the hyperbole "destroyed him."
Through this vivid diction and carefully-arranged syntax, author Tennessee Williams crafts a passage with a small and awkward tone that some would question whether or not to take seriously in relation to the rest of the play. Williams might have also intentionally done this writer's trick to keep the sense of mystery afloat, as he likes to do in all of his works. However, there is little mystery involved in recognizing William's writing skills.
Word Count: 400
"Brick, y'know, I've been so God d*** disgustingly poor all my life! - That's the truth, Brick! . . . You don't know . . . how it feels to be poor as Job's turkey and have to suck up to relatives that you hated because they had money and all you had was a bunch of hand-me-down clothes and a few moldy three-per-cent government bonds . . . So that's why I'm like a cat on a hot tin roof" (Williams 54-55)!
Many readers up to this point could translate Maggie's extended metaphor and anxious attitude as being frustrated from pure lack of intimacy or even total loss of chemistry with Brick. It's here that she reveals more than just what we can infer. While Big Daddy had been dying of cancer, the couple had been battling the rest of the family for his wealthy inheritance. However, he, like most traditional fathers, doesn't want to pass on his legacy to a branch of the tree without future generations. Maggie, with her poor background, just wants to feel rich, and Brick is refusing to give her even that. In conclusive reality, this is her "hot tin roof."
Word Count: 200
Monday, February 8, 2016
"When something is festering in your memory or your imagination, laws of silence don't work, it's just like shutting a door and locking it in a house on fire in hope of forgetting that the house is burning. But not facing a fire doesn't put it out. Silence about a thing just magnifies it. It grows and festers in silence, becomes malignant . . . (Williams 32)"
Prior to the key quote cited above, romantically frustrated, Margaret, had been fighting with her husband, Brick, about past affairs and why he doesn't show her affection anymore. Throughout the play, scandalous and often important secrets are kept from various members of the family, from Big Daddy's fatal illness to the real reason Brick became an alcoholic and lost all affection for Margaret. Williams, being a controversial writer, slowly starts to later bring these issues to light, just as his intentions are in getting the theme across. The whole play is spent establishing secrets with the reader that are driving the characters to be so distressed, but none of the characters know truly, which is what the quote suggests in relation to the text. The secrets are ruining relationships and "festering" inside each character, eating them alive with guilt. Just like the universal metaphor of the "cat on a hot tin roof", this quote compares one of the text's central ideas to being burned. Keeping the truth secret is only torment to a smart soul.
The work's true essential reality is the presence of the all-natural truth. If one chooses to hide the truth, the one and all parties involved will end up burned, no matter the controversy.
Word Count: 300