Academic journal article The Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences

Search for Conjugal Bliss in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Academic journal article The Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences

Search for Conjugal Bliss in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Article excerpt

Introduction

The domestic life of Brick and Maggie, in A Cat on Hot Tin Roof, is at risk because of their sexual incompatibility. Psychologically speaking, Brick is sexually passive and Maggie is sexually active. Brick believes in idealism while Maggie believes in pragmatism. Their conjugal relationship weakens day by day because of their different attitude towards their sexual life. Brick consciously negates his latent homosexuality while Maggie consciously makes him realize his homosexuality. Maggie articulates her disgust for homosexuality while Brick does not find a way to say about his homosexual relations with his friend. The husband becomes neurotic in his negation and the wife becomes ruthless in her assertion. Seen from the Jungian perspective, their married life is bound to be troublesome. Maggie is an "extrovert wife" (Evans 1976: 108) who gives voice to what she feels and observes. She cannot grow blind to the reality of her present childlessness and the poverty of her past. Her existence is threatened and she feels worthless before her fertile and scheming brother-in-law and his wife. Such a fear is visible in her discourse. But she plans masterfully to outwit all those ready to destroy her marital bliss. She uses sex as a sword and shield to defeat and deceive the Goopers, who want to uproot her. On the other hand, Bric k is an "introverted-intuitive husband" (Evans 1976: 108) who makes his life a miserable mess after the death of his friend, Skipper. He indulges in self-deception by idealizing and spiritualizing a worldly love. As a result of it, he fails to cultivate a true relationship with himself and yearns for truthfulness without realizing his own "mendacity" ( Five Plays 57). He is never ready to accept homosexual tendencies in his life. This denial leads him to a severe sexual crisis. He withdraws his physical contact with his wife, but his wife continues to offer him a valuable emotional support. She has the potential to deal with such incompatibility and succeeds in saving her conjugal life.

Discussion and Analysis

The unrequited love of Maggie's husband makes her a sex-starved woman. She makes love with Skipper to realize Brick's closeness with this act. She admits to Brick: "Skipper and I made love, if love you could call it, because it made both of us feel a little bit closer to you.... we made love to each other to dream it was you, both of us" (Five Plays 26)! Maggie's life is full of many lacks; her past is poverty - stricken and her present is a loveless marriage. She is deprived of sexual fulfilment and companionship and her childlessness further intensifies her insecurity. She is marginalized by the Pollit family in the worst way. She, in fact, fights for some space in the family. Her husband is not ready to recognize her person. Gooper, the brother of her husband, is scheming all the time to deprive her of all the inheritance while his wife, Mae, keeps on accusing Maggie of being barren. The other members of the Pollit family remind her on every step that she is childless and that she never belongs in the first place. Even Dixie, the little girl of the Goopers, makes fun of Maggie by sticking out her tongue at Maggie and reminding her of her barrenness. Maggie is badly hurt when Dixie reminds her of the fact that she is jealous of them only because she fails to produce any child. Maggie is not made for swallowing such remarks. She is compelled to ignite Brick's sexuality by saying him how his brother and his sister-in-law proudly make fun of Brick's childlessness in front of their children. Maggie's desire to have well brought up children and pour out all her caressing love upon them reaches its the climax when she expresses the same to Big Mamma. She desires to have a child by Brick because the child not only promises the power of inheritance but also rejuvenates her marital bliss. She is bent upon mothering a Pol litt child so that she can compete with Gooper and Mae for the best position in the family. …

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