Tennessee Williams: Pushing Boundaries and Breaking Conventions

                     Tennessee Williams pushed boundaries in a way that was prolific to the American theatre. His most notable works played at questions of marriage, sexuality for both men and women, and the accepted conventions which surrounded him. In Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Williams redefined necessity for the American public. Instead of the cliché Fifties stereotype of love, marriage, children, and a seemingly happy family, Williams preferred to illustrate the realistic. This play, along with others of Williams, provided a shock factor for the audience. Through his openly sexual themes and character development, Williams did more than just write, he created a branch of American drama all his own

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One thought on “Tennessee Williams: Pushing Boundaries and Breaking Conventions

  1. Tennessee Williams definitely has a place in the American theatrical canon, but I wonder about his status in other American canons. While I believe most would consider him to be a member of the general literary canon, I feel that plays are often excluded from it, thus making him an exception. One possible reason for this might be his unusual usage of stage direction. His plays tend to have more stage direction than others. Do some scholars see this additional stage direction as making his plays seem more like novels?
    I think his placement within the American gay canon is also worth discussing. His status as a gay male author combined with the fact that many of his works deal with homosexual themes would place him within this canon according to its definition.
    However, I feel that Williams might not be the best fit for this canon due to the fact that many of the homosexual themes are based on subtext rather than an outright acknowledgement of the characters’ homosexuality. Do you think this matters? Is Williams already a part of the gay canon and if not, should he be?

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