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To What Extent is Cat On A Hot Tin Roof a representative of the Shortcomings of the American Dream?

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To What Extent is Cat On A Hot Tin Roof a representative of the Shortcomings of the American Dream? Part of the basis of the American Dream, is set on the idea that it didn't matter where you came from, a man could make his own money and therefore be only reliant on himself. Big Daddy is a good representation of the man who created his big empire, and for that reason he was very proud of himself, " I made this place! I was the overseer on it... I quit school at ten years old and went to work like a nigger in the fields!" The American Dream was mainly focused at the WASP's, the White, and Anglo-Saxon Protestants. In Cat on A Hot Tin Roof, the family all fit those criteria. The only Black people in the play are the servants, Lacey and Sookey, they do not feature much in the play. America is known for being the Land of Opportunity, and Big Daddy explains this to us when talking to his son, Brick, in Act two, of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. We learn that in the "country of Spain...the children [are] running over those bare hill in their bare skins beggin' like starvin' dogs". ...read more.


Being successful meant conquering industry; you dealt with machines, whereas in the Southern States, you dealt with people. By dealing with people, in the South of America you had to be physically beautiful, which then brought about popularity and success. In Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Brick and his wife, Margaret, are both beautiful people, Margaret says she thinks Big Daddy even " takes in [her] shape". Brick is "the only drinkin' man...that it never seems t'put fat on." The couple are only unable to lead their perfect lifestyle due to the fact that Margaret is childless. This is a problem for her as it shows her to have failed as a woman. As Brick's sister-in-law says the reason for this is "that big athletic husband of hers won't go to bed with her!" This is an example, shown in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof of how the family, although they seem to be the perfect example of a family that has reached the American Dream, may be perfect on the exterior, but far from it beneath that. This is because, whilst Margaret and Brick are both very good looking and come from a wealthy family, and they therefore appear to have everything they need and want, Brick has taken up "the occupation of drinkin'" and Margaret is "childless". ...read more.


She is a good representation of the willingness to strive for the dream, Margaret knows what is important, and she is worried of her "childless" marriage, aims to become wealthy and always tries to appear respectable. Yet the shortcomings are shown in her husband, who will prevent her form achieving her goal. Brick rejects the dream; he has a great "estate" within his reach but, as opposed to reaching out for it, he pushes it away. He is an alcoholic, who has retired to a "remote" and "detached" drinking world. Similarly to Biff in Death of A Salesman, Brick wanted the American dream as he remembers it as a young boy, playing football: not the reality he is faced with. Big Daddy would like, as he says to Brick, to "give you this place", to turn Brick into who Big Daddy was when he was younger. Likewise, in Death of A Salesman, the central conflict is Willy's need to make Biff a success in Capitalist terms. Although in Arthur Miller's work there is a clear representation of the shortcomings in a man's quest to achieve the American Dream, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, shows the shortcomings can affect a man who does in fact achieve his goal, and has created his empire. Amy Lewis ...read more.

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