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Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Tennessee Williams

Act II: Part three

Summary Act II: Part three

Daddy, however, will not allow his son to pass the buck. As discussed above, he has returned from "death's country" and has no qualms confronting Brick with his homosexual desire. Indeed, Daddy almost suggests that he understands his son all too well since he "knocked around" himself in the old days. In this respect his spastic colon seems somewhat over determined. Brick is heir to a tradition to perverse fathers, a tradition that begins from Straw and Ochello onward, a tradition from which the women are excluded, desperately wanting men who would have nothing to do with them. Brick's disgust for his "family history" is clear. Incidentally, it is not for nothing that the conservative film version of Cat replaces Straw and Ochello with a fondly remembered grandfather.

Already we have noted the narcissistic relation between Brick and Daddy. Williams underscores the strange face-off happening between them. As the stage notes indicate, in delivering his recitative, Brick has decided to match the revelation of his "inadmissible thing" with that of Daddy's.

Finally we should also note that Williams warns us against drawing "pat" conclusions, namely, that Brick's problem is that he is a repressed homosexual. Here Williams does not "back off" from homosexuality. The play is quite explicit—but cautions us from immediately fixing Brick as a closet case.