Twenty-seven Wagons Full of Cotton

by Tennessee Williams
Start Free Trial

What is the main purpose of Tennessee Williams play Babydoll?

The main purpose of Tennessee Williams’s play Twenty-seven Wagons Full of Cotton, which was turned into a movie called Baby Doll, likely has to do with Williams’s wish to stage a disorderly work of art.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The main purpose of Tennessee Williams’s one-act play Twenty-seven Wagons Full of Cotton (which was turned into a film called Baby Doll) might be found in Williams’s introduction to the publication of 27 Wagons Full of Cotton and Other Plays . Williams titles the introduction “Something wild…” In it,...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

The main purpose of Tennessee Williams’s one-act play Twenty-seven Wagons Full of Cotton (which was turned into a film called Baby Doll) might be found in Williams’s introduction to the publication of 27 Wagons Full of Cotton and Other Plays. Williams titles the introduction “Something wild…” In it, Williams expresses his fondness for a community theater group, The Mummers, from St. Louis, Missouri. Williams describes the group’s style as disorderly and dynamic. According to him, The Mummers “never put on a show that didn’t deliver a punch to the solar plexus.” Williams’s admiration for The Mummers reflects his belief that art should be “a kind of anarchy” that counters the orderliness of society.

With The Mummers and Williams’s ideas about art, one has evidence to claim that the main purpose of Twenty-seven Wagons Full of Cotton was to present chaos, excitement, disorder, and anarchy. The two main characters—Jake and Flora—are loud and tempestuous. Their dialogue is strewn with exclamation points. They are inevitably hollering and clashing with one another. The havoc is reinforced by the founding action of the play: Silva Vicarro’s cotton gin has been burned down by Jake. Silva then adds to the play’s lawlessness and turmoil by preying on Flora.

Separate from Williams, one could come up with their own main purpose of the play. One might be able to argue that the main purpose of the play is to lampoon masculinity, capitalism, or the institution of marriage.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team