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University Degree: Tennessee Williams
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Brick says that 'Mendacity is a system we live in. Liquor is one way out, death is another...'. Discuss Williams' treatment of mendacity and truth and a theme in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof'.
Being one of the play's protagonists, he challenges the status quo as society's repressive attitude to 'unnatural behaviour' unfurls. As he superficially attempts to appease his conscience, it leaves him to battle his instincts and confront his rights to lead a 'normal' life, which in itself is debatable. What is a 'normal' life? The play indicates that it is one free from institutionalised prejudices. Brick's alcohol dependency reduces him to yearn for a mechanical 'click' in his head, to allow him peace in a world he detests.
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One could argue that this insinuation relates to when Brick blames 'mendacity' for his alcoholism, as the subject of secrets and lies reoccurs throughout the play as a cause of destructive tension within the family - Big Daddy's condition, Skipper's secret -, but more obviously Williams is capturing the reality by retaining some revelations from the audience. One of the most prominently undefined characters in the play is Brick, who is described in the First Act by the following comprehensive stage direction where Brick is: [...hanging on the towel rack because one ankle is broken, plastered and bound.
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Examine the relationship between Brick and Maggie in the first act of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof", is there any hope for this relationship?
which frustrates Maggie into answering snappily "Isn't that a good enough reason?" Tennessee Williams has cleverly used a name, which has similar characteristics to its character. Brick is introduced to us against a cold background of "pale blue tiles and silver towel racks,", but his surroundings are not the only thing described as cool, He himself has the "additional charm of that cool air of detachment" His name also can be interpreted as him building a wall between himself and others especially his wife Maggie, other characteristics of a brick also describe him well, He is hard, isolated, impassive, detached and uncommunicative.
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