Did you know you can highlight text to take a note? x

Angrily Daddy tosses Brick's crutch across the room. Now that he is back, he will straighten Brick out. A little girl bursts into the room with sparklers in her fists, hopping and shrieking like a mad monkey. Brick retrieves his crutch and flees in horror from the room. Daddy catches him by the sleeve. Mama rushes in, and Daddy orders her out. Brick breaks loose, and Daddy jerks his crutch from under him. Brick collapses in anguish.

Analysis

During the conversation, Daddy comes close to the topic that remains repressed between them, and refuses to allow Brick his flight. Before reaching the secrets that rest between them, Daddy takes advantage of the pause opened by the clock chimes to pursue a rather strange detour through his travels with Big Mama. Of particular note are the anecdotes of the screaming children in Barcelona and child prostitute in Morocco. Daddy's memories of his travels introduce a motif familiar to Williams's readers: the Mediterranean/North Africa as a primal space, a space savagery, lawlessness, and sexual excess, all that which civilization would repress. The most notorious example of this fantasy probably comes from Suddenly Last Summer, in which a wealthy Southerner who takes gay sex trips to the region is devoured by a band of street children. These exotic locales and their inhabitants become ciphers for the desires that remain repressed at the home. For example, later, Brick tells of a fraternity pledge who flees to North Africa when the brothers discover that he is a sodomite.

Two repressed ideas demanding revelation, what Williams calls "inadmissible things," structure this showdown between father and son. The inadmissible things are Daddy's imminent death and Brick's homosexual desire. The first is a point of dramatic irony throughout the scene, since Daddy believes he has returned from the grave. Though his coming death has been quickly repressed, as Freud notes, the unconscious can never know its own death, in some sense Daddy has confronted its possibility. As he tells Brick, what distinguishes man from beast is the terrifying apprehension of his own demise.

Daddy returns from death and dismisses the vanitas of his worldly possessions and understands that a rich man cannot buy his life. Instead he is bent on acting on his desire in all its violence. Not only will he buy a beautiful woman but smother her in minks, choke her with diamonds, but Daddy is murderous in his fetishism. Note the ironic intervention here of what Williams's terms the "perfectly timed" yet "incongruous" interruption: Mama's pitiable entrance at the very moment Daddy dreams of infidelity.

As Daddy will tell Brick, there is little that shocks in "death's country." Daddy's sojourn in "death's country" perhaps recalls his reminiscence of his world travels and the child prostitute in particular. Daddy's encounter, "on the other side of the moon," with that civilization would be repressed at all costs. In returning from death's country, Daddy would force his son to face his own desire.

Desperately Brick attempts to dodge him, emptying his words of all significance. As he tells Daddy, their talks never materialize and nothing is said. When Daddy presses him, Brick reveals why he yearns for "solid quiet," and why he would deny that their talks take place anywhere or refer to anything: it is because they are "painful." Turning from his desire, Brick has abandoned the world behind a screen of liquor. He is reduced to the daily, mechanical search for his click that gives him peace.