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Denial Throughout Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

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Jake Shevlin

on 11 December 2013

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Transcript of Denial Throughout Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Brick
Brick claims to drink out of disgust with the mendacity and divisiveness of those around him.
In reality, alcohol is the ultimate crutch to forget his role in the suicide of his friend, Skipper.
He denies his homosexual emotions for Skipper because he knows that society would view the relationship negatively.
His inability to respond to even the most alluring efforts of his very beautiful and eager wife confirm that he does not have a normal heterosexual response to women.
Hiding from the Truth Under the Umbrella of Denial Throughout
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Maggie
Maggie is constantly in denial about her poor relationship with Brick.
She pretends that deep down he loves her and that their relationship will be okay in the end.
She is also in denial about wanting kids, because she knows that Brick will not give her any.
She pretends to hate Mae and Gooper's kids because she is jealous and can not face the truth about her childlessness.
Big Mama is in denial about the impending death of her husband.
Like Maggie, she pretends that there is nothing wrong with her relationship with her husband.
Big Mama either pretends or truly believes that her family is nearly perfect and that there is nothing very wrong with their relationships.
Closed Doors
Big Mama's intolerance of closed doors is symbolic of her refusal to believe that there are "closed doors" in her family.
Her family is far from open or connected. Aside from Mae and Gooper, no one seems to get along.
Ironically, the various forms of denial exhibited by all of the members of Big Mama's family, including Big Mama, create the dysfunctional reality that they all live behind figurative closed doors.
Big Mama
Double Bed
The double bed symbolizes Maggie's denial about the hopelessness of her relationship with her husband.
She either pretends or falsely believes that things will improve and they will be able to sleep together, which would prove Brick's love for her and would enable her to finally have children.
Crutch
Brick's crutch is symbolic of the figurative crutches he uses to deny reality. He uses alcohol and avoidance to escape the truth behind Skipper's suicide, and the reality of his own homosexuality.
Mae and Gooper
Mae and Gooper are in denial about Big Daddy's preference for Brick and his decision to give Brick his fortune.
They focus on the one thing Brick cannot provide -- heirs.
In reality, Big Daddy prefers Brick despite Brick's lack of children. Big Daddy even seems to know that Brick is homosexual, yet Brick is still his favorite.
Children
Mae and Gooper's children are symbolic of their denial about their position within the family. They seem to believe the children should give them entitlement.
They focus on their children as an object of pride, while other see the children as loud, obnoxious "no-necked monsters" (Williams 15).
In reality, the children make Mae and Gooper less deserving of Big Daddy's affection and his estate, not more deserving.

Big Daddy
Despite all of pain that Big Daddy feels, he believes the lie that the doctors told him, and denies that he is dying.
He also refuses to believe that his efforts to end Brick's alcoholism are futile.

Cancer
Big Daddy's refusal to believe that his body is deteriorating is symbolic of his denial that his life is falling apart around him
His favorite son is an alcoholic and is throwing his life away.
His family is all lying to him and fighting behind his back.
Similar to Big Mama, Big Daddy refuses to see the collapse of everything around him
A Golden View of the Ending
Although there are many who view the ending as a tragic, it can also been seen in a positive light.
At the end of this story all of the characters are unable to hide beneath the umbrella of their denial and are forced to face the light of truth.
The play ends with a glimmer of hope that exposure to the truth will enable the characters to find a way to live with the reality of their lives rather than hide from it. Williams seems to suggest that they are at least on the path to finding happiness now that they are no longer living in the shadow of denial.

Introduction
Throughout
Cat On a Hot Tin Roof,
Tennessee Williams shows the dysfunction that denial causes. The overarching denial is everyone's pretense of normalcy as they celebrate Big Daddy's birthday. In reality, he is dying of cancer. All of the smaller versions of denial that each character uses to hide from the painful reality of truth ultimately handicap everyone. Williams seems to be showing his audience that denial only exacerbates problems, as one by one each character's umbrella of denial is pierced by truth.
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