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Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Paperback – October 1, 1958

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 10-Up Topics covered in 10 authoritative essays include: the character of Brick, his friendship with Skipper, his relationship with Maggie, homophobia, the author's unseen characters, Williams's treatment of women, the influence of Spanish author Federico Garc'a Lorca, and comparisons to Williams's other works. All chapters contain examples of dialogue from the play followed by interpretation. The book also has a chronology of the playwright's life and a substantial bibliography. Students studying Williams's work will find a wealth of information here. A great purchase for schools with Cat in the curriculum. -Pat Bender, The Shipley School, Bryn Mawr, PA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Play by Tennessee Williams, published and produced in 1955. It won a Pulitzer Prize. The play exposes the emotional lies governing relationships in the family of a wealthy Southern planter of humble origins. The patriarch, Big Daddy, is about to celebrate his 65th birthday. His two married sons, Gooper (Brother Man) and Brick, have returned for the occasion, the former with his pregnant wife and five children, the latter with his wife Margaret (Maggie). The interactions between Big Daddy, Brick, and Maggie form the substance of the play. -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 72 pages
  • Publisher: Dramatists Play Service, Inc.; Reprint. edition (October 1, 1958)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822201895
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822201892
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #341,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By on December 21, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Tennessee Williams's Pulitzer Prize winning play "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" is a reverie filled drama of lust, greed, and death that puts emphasis on the interaction of families. Williams creates universal characters that are pathetic yet familiar and therefore warrant the reader's sympathy. He writes with such deceptive simplicity that he masks his characters's inner turmoil initially, making the turnout of such characterizations intriguing. The play presents that humanity isn't beautiful while attempting to shed light on the emotional lies that govern the interaction of families. "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"'s intertwining themes of the lie of life and the deception of death provide the reader with insight towards the amblivalence of life.
To say so much within such a short piece is a mystery within itself. The sheer power of the plot is testimony of Williams's genius. The play is beautifully constructed and hits upon many themes and emotions with clarity and precision, making it an enjoyable read while having substance. I did an analysis of this book for my junior Reading class, and recommend the read to anyone seeking high drama and a well rounded take on death.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By B. Wilfong on October 25, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a superbly written play about that most basic of human issues, the desire to communicate honestly and openly with someone that you care about. At its core, Tennessee Williams' masterpiece is really about nothing more than that. Everyone wants and needs someone to listen to, and accept, you.
All of Williams' plays are about lonely people when you come right down to it. However, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" is unique in that these lonely characters are part of a large family, and at times are literally tripping over each other. What makes us lonely is our inability to communicate with those that we love. It is in that essential human drive that Williams creates the tragedy of this piece. A father knows his son is a closeted gay man; he loves him, but can't get the son to believe or accept that. A wife knows the truth about her husband, but can't make herself believe it. (Actually that last one applies to two wives in the play, for different reasons.) A man faces death, in essence alone, because he can't admit how terrified he is. And the list goes on. These are the stories of the Pollitt family of the Mississippi Delta. Those particulars are different for all of us, but the essential worries and fears of the members of this family are universal, and have been at the heart of a powerful drama for over 50 years.
The witting of this play is luminous and gorgeous. In fact, at times it reads like poetry. However, the power in this piece is also due in large part to the structure of this three act play. The first act is almost a solo from the character of Maggie. The second act is a painful and terrifying duet from the characters of Brick and Big Daddy, and the final act is the ensemble number that builds, and then ends on a slow drawn out note.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on November 2, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" is another masterpiece by Tennessee Williams, who was truly one of the 20th century's greatest playwrights. This play was presented in New York in the 1950s, and in book form it is an excellent read.
I haven't looked at other editions, but the Signet edition contains two different versions of Act 3, along with a note by Williams explaining how director Elia Kazan persuaded him to write a second version. This feature makes the book particularly useful for teachers and students.
"Cat" takes place on a Southern plantation, and deals with a wealthy, but very dysfunctional family. Williams creates stunning dialogue for his characters: Brick, the bitter, alcoholic ex-athlete; Brick's frustrated wife Margaret; "Big Daddy," the patriarch, who is dying of cancer; and the rest. Williams also establishes the plantation's original owners as a haunting presence through the lines of his characters.
"Cat" is an explosive family drama about greed, secrets, guilt, alcoholism, and sexual frustration. Williams' characters are larger-than-life, and even grotesque, but Williams never loses a grasp on their essential humanity. An important book for those with a serious interest in American drama.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 21, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof swelters with the fire of longing for that wispy shade of happiness. The fierce currents of discontent, jealousy, and mendacity surge through this piece, leaving the reader to fend for himself on an emotional and gripping roller coaster. The struggle between Maggie the Cat and her husband Brick is the universal struggle to love and be loved through the deceptions and misconceptions that can wreck a chance at happiness. The external struggles mirror the internal struggles, for each character seems to be battling despair and a sense of worthlessness. All in all a superb read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bill R. Moore on December 31, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof is Tennessee William's highly-acclaimed, Pulitzer Prize-winning play that stands on equal footing with the best American dramas ever written. While uniquely American, it is also inherently universal. Set in the American South, Williams plays out a kind of Southern King Lear. The drama that plays out is, in its details, distinctly Southern, but the implications and the deeper themes of the story reverberate in the hearts and minds of anyone who has ever been in the midst of a family struggle. A dialogue-only play that features no narration, Cat is quite a unique play for two different reasons. First, it takes place entirely in real time, with no lapses between scenes or acts -- thereby adhering to the Aristotelian unity of time and place, something that isn't seen much in post-classical drama. Also, it maintains a very high level of emotional content throughout the entire play. It starts out quickly, soon reaches a fever pitch, and never lets up. To quote an early review of another book, Joseph Heller's Catch-22, in what was supposed to have been an insult, "The book seems not to have been written so much as shouted onto the page." Consequently, this is the rare play that not only works wonders on the stage, but is also a great work of literature: it reads very well (one can only imagine the emotional intensity of actually watching it being performed.) The book moves along at a breath-taking pace, and is a very quick read, as most plays are; there is, however, a lot more depth to it than appears on the surface. The themes it deals with are timeless and have been mined by many other playwrights, including Williams, before; indeed, they probably always will be. And yet, they endure. The story of this family struggle speaks to us in ways that few plays can from the page.Read more ›
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