Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” challenges gender identity with the atypical American husband and wife role representation. In class we have previously discussed the division of the American family as it is represented in “Death of a salesman” due to the inadequacy the men felt within that show. Now in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, the same lack of personal acceptance is in not just in the men but also the women. The stereotypical roles of marriage call the husband to be the breadwinner and the wife to be the homemaker. This balance was broken at one time in the 1940’s calling both the women and men away from home; the men served in the army and the women worked in the factories. But the 1950’s would soon come calling the men back home to the corporate office and then women back to maintaining the home, restoring the balance of gender and marriage expectations. In Cat, we get a glimpse into this restored balance; one that is filled however, with the same defiance to gender roles within martial relationships. We find this gender defiance in the marriage of Maggie and Brick. Big Mama and Margaret’s conversation states it perfectly when they argued:
BIG MAMA: D 'you make Brick happy in bed?
MARGARET: Why don 't you ask if he makes me happy in bed? […]
BIG MAMA: Something 's not right! You 're childless and my son drinks! (Act 1, pg. 48)
Maggie’s obligatory role as the wife is to be a sexually pleasing, childbearing factory. Her in-laws repeatedly analyze Maggie’s…