Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

by: Tennessee Williams

Act II: Part one

Summary Act II: Part one

Summary

Big Daddy enters ferociously and greets Brick. Just then, the rest of the family is heard approaching. Reverend Tooker is discussing memorial windows with Gooper; Mae is rattling off the children's immunizations. Maggie turns on the Hi-Fi, and Daddy orders it off and then on again when Big Mama bursts in calling for her baby Brick. She then pulls Tooker into her lap for some inelegant horseplay. Brick remains aloof amid the hubbub.

The servants enter with Daddy's cake, and a grotesque sing-a-long commences. Ordering everyone to be quiet, Daddy begins interrogating Brick on his broken ankle. Maggie attempts to divert Daddy's attention with his birthday gift and begins cat fighting with Mae. Daddy is relentless and asks if Brick was cutting himself a "piece o'poon-tang" last night on the track. Smiling vaguely from his stupor, Brick explains he was only jumping hurdles.

When the family attempts to continue the party, Daddy furiously orders everyone to stop. Mama forbids him to speak so crudely, and he does not mean what he is saying. Daddy accuses Big Mama of trying to take over. Now that he knows he only has a spastic colon, she is not about to take over his plantation. His colon has become spastic out of disgust, disgust over the lies and hypocrisy he has lived with for forty years. Woefully Mama sobs that he has never believed that she loved him. "Wouldn't it be funny if that was true…" Daddy murmurs to himself.

The rest of family has exited discreetly. Daddy bellows for Brick. Maggie delivers him, giving him a kiss on the mouth that he immediately wipes off and girlishly flying out. Daddy asks Brick why he wiped off her kiss. Maggie has a better shape than Mae but the same look. Daddy says they are as nervous as cats on a hot tin roof. Brick replies that they are wrangling for a bigger piece of the land. Daddy laughs that he is not about to let the land go.

Suddenly Daddy notices someone by the door. He calls for Gooper and Mae enters. Angrily he decrees that there will be no spying in his house. He knows Mae and Gooper have been spying on Brick and Maggie from the next-door bedroom and reporting to Mama. Protesting her unjust martyrdom, Mae flees.

Daddy turns to Brick and says that Mae and Gooper have been saying that he will not sleep with Maggie. If he does not like her, he should get rid of her. As Brick freshens his drink and Daddy brings up his drinking problem. Daddy asks if that is the reason why Brick quit sports announcing. Huskily he orders Brick to pay attention and asks him to join him on the sofa. Brick cannot throw his life away.