In Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, is Big Mama or Caring and supportive or Irritating and thoughtless? Which of these judgments do you think is the more accurate description of Williams’s presentation of Big Mama?
I think that a stronger case can be made for Big Mama being caring and supportive. She does not chastise anyone and really does not display anything in terms of vengeful behavior. She is forgiving and her laughter covers a profound sense of love that sometimes goes without being reciprocated. Big Mama carries pain that others in the drama do not, while exuding care that others cannot. She makes bawdy jokes at times and laughs a great deal in order to seek to make others feel better. She might be irritating in these displays, but her intent is not one of carelessness or thoughtlessness. She wishes to articulate an idealistic condition of being in the world, something that cannot be achieved by the earthly people that surround her in the drama. At the same time, Big Mama achieves a dignity when it becomes evident that she is going to lose her husband. For Big Mama, I see her in more of a caring and supportive framework, something that is embodied in how she carries herself in relation to others throughout the drama.