Themes and Meanings

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

“The Field of Blue Children,” like much of Tennessee Williams’s work, juxtaposes the practical, materialistic world against the more ephemeral arena of the artist. Concomitant with this division, the author places sexual desire, passion, and creativity in the poet’s corner, contrasting it with the workaday world in which Myra and Kirk live after their marriage.

The names of the characters are significant in this regard: Myra means “wonderful,” Kirk means “church,” Hertha means “the earth,” and Homer suggests the Greek bard. At the beginning, Myra feels that something significant is missing in her life, although, on the surface, she seems to enjoy all the typical activities of a popular college girl. This sensation is so overwhelming that she might be called a hysteric in the clinical sense. She assuages her pervasive uneasiness to a degree by writing verse, culminating in her recognition that “Words are a net to catch beauty!” Here she comes close to becoming what Williams would think of as wonderful.

After the episode in the field of blue flowers, Myra has an opportunity to come down on the side of passion, to accept the impractical, but thoroughly satisfying, life of art. She lacks the courage, however, to embrace Homer for more than just one night. In the author’s view, she has given up her chance to be wonderful when she demurs and chooses to repress her strongest instincts in favor of a practical marriage to Kirk...

(The entire section is 470 words.)