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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Close-Reading Passage 3: Cat On a Hot Tin Roof

"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)"

     Tennessee Williams crafts this passage with vividly to give off just the right tone desired. Through use of descriptive diction and common writing traditions, the reader is presented with an awkward and sort of "small" tone. Williams does this intentionally as to make the reader feel just as embarrassed and shocked as the character in her described scenario. Williams uses his language to manipulate the tone to a sense of defeat and realization of the "manly" figure's real past.
     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

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