Summarize the way the playwright uses dialogue to create character and mood in Twenty-seven Wagons Full of Cotton.

In Twenty-seven Wagons Full of Cotton, Tennessee Williams uses dialogue to create character and mood by showing the infantilizing way in which both men speak to Flora and the patronizing attitude Jake adopts towards Silva. Extreme sentimentality in the dialogue is used to convey not love but manipulation, abuse, and dishonesty.

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At the beginning of Twenty-seven Wagons Full of Cotton, Williams uses the bickering and sentimentality between Jake and Flora to create the principal characteristics of both characters and the atmosphere of their marriage. The scene is reminiscent of Nora and Torvald's relationship at the beginning of A Doll's House, except that Jake and Flora are less sophisticated than Ibsen's characters. They go from petty domestic squabbling to embarrassing baby-talk, in which Jake treats his pretty young wife as an empty-headed child. This allows him to pretend that he is pampering her and showing affection, while at the same time being domineering and even abusive, his manner veering between that of a doting, affectionate father, and a stern one who is displeased with his child.

Jake's dialogue with Silva Vicarro also emphasizes his ignorance and his brutish nature, as well as a sense of superiority which seems to be based on nothing more than his physical size. He addresses Silva as "little fellow" (just as he calls Flora "little woman") and pretends to be treating him with expansive generosity by allowing him to use the cotton gin. The love triangle is completed by Silva's dialogue with Flora, which again emphasizes her passive, naïve character and Silva's clever, predatory one. Both men easily manipulate Flora, Jake with his overbearing assumption of quasi-paternal power, and Silva with his quick intelligence. He soon establishes Jakes guilt by asking her a series of leading questions and then, when she objects "You make this sound like I was on trial for something" turning the interrogation into a childish game by suggesting that they "pretend" she is a witness. Dialogue like this is comic, but with a sinister edge, since it shows how easily Flora is exploited.

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