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Cat on a Hot Tin Roof 0002-Revised Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 113 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0811216012
ISBN-10: 0811216012
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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.


“Tennessee Williams never wrote a more explosive play than Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” (Howard Kissel - The Daily News)

“The introductions, by playwrights as illustrious as Williams himself, are the gem of these new editions.” (Ken Furtado - Echo Magazine)

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Product Details

  • Series: New Directions Paperbook
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions; 0002-Revised edition (September 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811216012
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811216012
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,288 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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"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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
…may throw the first stone, to paraphrase a Biblical injunction. I still remember the “racy” movie posters, featuring Elizabeth Taylor, when this play was first issued as a movie in the 1950’s. I neither saw the movie, nor watched a production of the play. Thanks to a recent reading of The Glass Menagerie (New Directions Books) I decided that I needed to read more of this quintessential American (and Southern) playwright. “Cat…” was first produced in 1955, and would win the Pulitzer Prize.

The play is set in the largest mansion in the very heart of the rich farmland of the Mississippi delta, near Clarksville. There are three acts, but the time period is continuous. ‘Big Daddy’ is now 65, and owner of the plantation. He is still “rough-hewed,” having once been the overseer of the plantation that was owned by two “sisters” (gays), Jack Straw and Peter Ochello. Homosexuality, a “racy” topic in the 1950’s, is a theme throughout the play. ‘Big Daddy’s’ wife is, sure enough, ‘Big Mama.’ They have two sons, Brick and Gooper, who are each married, respectively, to Maggie and Mae. Each of the women have societal pretenses, one raised in Memphis, and the other Nashville. Gooper is the oldest, and with Mae has five “no-neck” children, with a sixth on the way. Brick and Mae are childless. He is also a serious alcoholic, morose over his lost college athletic “glory days,” and his relationship with his buddy, Skipper, now dead. The reason for Brick and Maggie’s childlessness – that he will not sleep with her – and his probable homosexual relationship with Skipper is developed as the play progresses.
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