Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Pdf fan dd71f526917d6085d66d045bd94fb5b55d02a108dd45d836cbdd4abe2d4c043d Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

The Console/Liquor Cabinet/Hi-Fi Symbol Analysis

The Console/Liquor Cabinet/Hi-Fi Symbol Icon
In addition to the bed, Tennessee Williams specifically mentions a giant console in his set directions. The console contains a radio-phonograph, television, and liquor cabinet. As Williams notes, “this piece of furniture, this monument, is a very complete and compact little shrine to virtually all the comforts and illusions behind which we hide from such things as the characters in the play are faced with…” Brick, in particular, continually reminds us of the console as he pours himself drink after drink to repress his feelings surrounding his friend Skipper’s death. The console represents another sort of crutch for Brick—it symbolizes the wall that he throws up to avoid facing the ugliness of the situation around him.

The Console/Liquor Cabinet/Hi-Fi Quotes in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

The Cat on a Hot Tin Roof quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Console/Liquor Cabinet/Hi-Fi. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Lies Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the New Directions edition of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof published in 2004.
Act 2 Quotes

A drinking man's someone who wants to forget he isn't still young an' believing.

Related Characters: Brick (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Console/Liquor Cabinet/Hi-Fi
Page Number: 114
Explanation and Analysis:

Asked by his father why he drinks, Brick replies that he wants to forget his youth, when he was still innocent and "believing." Brick's desperate desire for the past is one of his strongest drives. He views this time as perfect, and is deeply bitter at having lost it.

This quote fits into the overall theme of Brick's pessimism. Repeatedly, he expresses disgust with his situation, his environment, his family, and himself. It seems that nothing will ever be good enough for Brick, since he is constantly convinced that things used to be better in the now-lost past—and he cannot truly communicate with anyone in the present because of this self-imposed barrier. 

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Cat on a Hot Tin Roof quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Act 3 Quotes

Brick, I used to think that you were stronger than me and I didn’t want to be overpowered by you. But now, since you’ve taken to liquor—you know what? –I guess it’s bad, but now I’m stronger than you and I can love you more truly!

Related Characters: Margaret (speaker), Brick
Related Symbols: The Console/Liquor Cabinet/Hi-Fi
Page Number: 172
Explanation and Analysis:

Alone with Brick, Maggie reveals that she's found an upside to his drinking: she is now "stronger" than him, and, because of that, can "love you more truly." 

With one quote, Maggie reveals both the darkness and the light within her character. On one hand, she feels that she can love Brick more "truly" now that he is weak and and drunk--a disturbing insight into her need for control, and her manipulation of Brick. On the other hand, this quote also speaks to Maggie's eternal optimism. Although her husband is nearly incoherently drunk at this point, she remains devoted to him, and finds things to love about him. 

Also on display here is Maggie's faithful, relentless love. Throughout the entire play she has remained laser-focused on Brick, at every moment calculating how she can get through to her husband, and this passage is no different. 

And so tonight we're going to make the lie true, and when that's done, I'll bring the liquor back here and we'll get drunk together, here, tonight, in this place that death has come into….

Related Characters: Margaret (speaker), Brick
Related Symbols: The Bed, The Console/Liquor Cabinet/Hi-Fi
Page Number: 173
Explanation and Analysis:

Having announced to the family that she is pregnant, Maggie now admits to Brick that she has lied. Still, she asserts, they can "make the lie true" by sleeping together; and to sweeten the deal, she promises to bring him more alcohol afterwards. 

Once again, both the best and the worst parts of Maggie's character come through in this moment. She intends to sleep with her deeply intoxicated husband, and is using his alcoholism to make her offer more appealing. Furthermore, she has lied to a dying man, with absolutely no assurance that her lie (her pregnancy) will come true.

At the same time, it is difficult not to admire Maggie in this moment. Although she has lied, her lie has helped to drive "death" out of the house, replacing it with at least a semblance of joy and life. She also truly believes that resuming their sex life, and conceiving a child, will help to redeem her depressed husband--a belief that may be deluded, but is also deeply understandable. 

Get the entire Cat on a Hot Tin Roof LitChart as a printable PDF.
Cat on a hot tin roof.pdf.medium

The Console/Liquor Cabinet/Hi-Fi Symbol Timeline in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Console/Liquor Cabinet/Hi-Fi appears in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Unrequited Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
As Big Mama leaves the room, she jerks her finger towards the liquor cabinet to ask whether Brick’s been drinking, and Margaret pretends not to understand. Big Mama rushes... (full context)
Act 2
Death Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
Wealth Theme Icon
...Doctor Baugh appear, talking about the children’s immunizations. Margaret tells Brick to turn on the Hi-Fi. When he ignores her, she turns it on herself, and Big Daddy shouts to shut... (full context)
Lies Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
...get rid of Margaret if he doesn’t like her. Brick, meanwhile, has gone to the liquor cabinet to freshen his drink, and Big Daddy tells him he has a real liquor problem.... (full context)
Act 3
Lies Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
...Brick’s drinking, as Brick appears in the room behind her. Brick immediately heads for the liquor cabinet . (full context)
Lies Theme Icon
Unrequited Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
...his “click.” As he stands on the gallery, Margaret grabs all the bottles in the liquor cabinet and runs out of the room with them. When she returns, she faces off with... (full context)