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This crisis overlaps with the play’s central tension, which focuses on the unhappy relationship between Big Daddy’s son, Brick, and his wife, Maggie.
By stating that Brick’s mendacity led to Skipper’s demise and death, the father places attention not on his son’s potential homosexuality, but rather, on his son’s dishonesty. (94-95) Brick’s passionate confession points out two very important points.
Brick continues to deny the truths that his father openly discusses, claiming that the truth under question is Skipper’s truth, not his own. First, reiterating Big Daddy’s ideas of the nature of mendacity (pointed out in the first block quote of this blog post), Brick also seems to believe that lying is an part of living, and that the two phenomena cannot exist without each other–lying is living, living is lying.
Mendacity is the core theme of Tennessee Williams’ 1955 Pulitzer Prize-winning play entitled The play brilliantly illustrates the extent to which humans twist, shape, destroy, or downright ignore truth to comply with socio-cultural demands and expectations.
Regardless of how you name this concept, it is one that silently governs over all of our lives and our actions.
Well, I could, I could write a goddam book on it and still not cover the subject anywhere near enough!! Most of Big Daddy’s family is reunited at the estate to celebrate his sixty-fifth birthday, and right from the opening of the play, the reader is immersed into a web of lies that tangles and distorts truth, objectivity, and even compassion.
I could write a book on it and still not cover the subject? Big Daddy is the owner of a cotton business, and he also owns thousands of acres of fertile land in this area.As the opening of the play states, the room hasn’t changed much since it was occupied by the original owners of the place, Jack Straw and Peter Ochello, a pair of old bachelors who shared this room all their lives together.In other words, the room must evoke some ghosts; it is gently and poetically haunted by a relationship that must have involved a tenderness which was uncommon.The play concludes with Maggie announcing that she’s pregnant (yet another lie) to assure that she and her husband obtain part of Big Daddy’s estate after he dies.I found it interesting that this play tethers the notions of truth and queerness quite effectively.This is definitely an idea that is worth exploring.You can purchase a copy of Williams’ play by clicking here. The queerness that haunts the room manifests in Brick’s character, mostly because every other character assumes that Skipper’s suicide has affected Brick so immensely because they were romantically interested (or perhaps, involved) with each other.Not only does Big Daddy inquire whether Brick and Skipper were lovers, but Brick’s wife, Maggie, goes as far as to posit that the lack of tolerance for queer relationships in their society is the factor that ultimately drove Skipper to kill himself.What I find particularly interesting, though, is that this play presents an instance in which non-normative, liminal characters are presented as the only individuals capable of invoking truth and honesty in other people, even though they are incapable of dealing with their own truths and realities.Is queerness (non-normativity, anti-binaristic thinking) thus the solution to mendacity?