Tennessee Williams American Literature Analysis
Among the four generally acknowledged major American dramatists—Eugene O’Neill, Tennessee Williams. Arthur Miller, and Edward Albee—Williams holds the distinction of being the poet in the theater. The same year, 1944, that The Glass Menagerie opened in Chicago, some of his poems were published in Five American Poets. Revised, some of these poems reappeared in a later volume, In the Winter of Cities (1956). Williams’s poems contain many of the themes, images, and musical qualities that dominate the style of his plays. One of his most famous characters, Tom Wingfield, was nicknamed Shakespeare by his fellow workers in a shoe factory because, as a loner, he wrote poems rather than join in their social amenities.
Williams’s most prominent and all-inclusive theme is the effect of an aggressively competitive society on sensitive characters such as Laura and Tom Wingfield (The Glass Menagerie), Blanche DuBois (A Streetcar Named Desire), Brick and Maggie Pollitt (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), Alma Winemiller (Summer and Smoke, 1947), Catharine Holly and Sebastian Venable (Suddenly Last Summer, 1958), and The Reverend Shannon and Hannah Jelkes (The Night of the Iguana, 1961)—all social outcasts in society.
Related to the theme of the outcast is that of the poet-artist. Laura has her collection of glass animals, Tom his poetry, Blanche and Alma that extraordinary...
(The entire section is 6148 words.)
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