Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

by Tennessee Williams

Excerpt from Act I: Margaret

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Hear them? Hear them screaming? I don’t know where their voice-boxes are located since they don’t have necks. I tell you I got so nervous at that table tonight I thought I would throw back my head and utter a scream you could hear across the Arkansas border an’ parts of Louisiana an’ Tennessee. I said to your charming sister-in-law, Mae, honey,couldn’t you feed those precious little things at a separate table with an oilcloth cover? They make such a mess an’ the lace cloth looks so pretty! She made enormous eyes at me and said, ‘Ohhh, noooooo! On Big Daddy’s birthday? Why, he would never forgive me!’ Well, I want you to know, Big Daddy hadn’t been at the table two minutes with those five no-neck monsters slobbering and drooling over their food before he threw down his fork an’ shouted, ‘Fo’ God’s sake, Gooper, why don’t you put them pigs at a trough in th’ kitchen?’–Well, I swear, I simply could have di-ieed! Think of it, Brick, they’ve got five of them and number six is coming. They’ve brought the whole bunch down here like animals to display at a county fair. Why, they have those children doin’ tricks all the time! ‘Junior, show Big Daddy how you do this, show Big Daddy how you do that, say your little piece fo’ Big Daddy, Sister. Show your dimples, Sugar. Brother, show Big Daddy how you stand on your head!’–It goes on all the time, along with constant little remarks and innuendoes about the fact that you and I have not produced any children, are totally childless and therefore totally useless!–Of course it’s comical but it’s also disgusting since it’s so obvious what they’re up to!