Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

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Difficulty of Communication Theme Analysis

Themes and Colors
Lies Theme Icon
Unrequited Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
Memory, Nostalgia, Regret Theme Icon
Wealth Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon

Big Daddy and Brick also discuss how difficult it is to communicate with others and especially with each other. Although they both speak, nothing seems to get through. As the play progresses, we see that this is true for all the characters. In the stage directions, they’re constantly overlapping each other’s words, interrupting, and ignoring others. The difficulty of communication is even evident in how long it takes to get everyone to organize around Big Mama in order to tell her about the truth of Big Daddy’s cancer. Brick’s alcoholism also plays a big role—first, he’s focused on drinking until he can hear the “click,” and then once he hears it, he becomes even more detached and removed from the conversations around him.

Difficulty of Communication ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Difficulty of Communication appears in each act of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
How often theme appears:
Act length:
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Difficulty of Communication Quotes in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Below you will find the important quotes in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof related to the theme of Difficulty of Communication.
Act 1 Quotes

But Brick?!—Skipper is dead! I'm alive!

Related Characters: Margaret (speaker), Brick

One man has one great good true thing in his life. One great good thing which is true!—I had a friendship with Skipper.—You are naming it dirty!

Related Characters: Brick (speaker), Margaret

When something is festering in your memory or your imagination, laws of silence don't work, it's just like shutting a door and locking it on a house on fire in hope of forgetting that the house is still burning. But not facing a fire doesn't put it out. Silence about a thing just magnifies it. It grows and festers in silence, becomes malignant.

Related Characters: Margaret (speaker)
Act 2 Quotes

Jumping the hurdles, Big Daddy, runnin' and jumpin' the hurdles, but those high hurdles have gotten too high for me, now.

Related Characters: Brick (speaker), Big Daddy

And I did, I did so much, I did love you!—I even loved your hate and your hardness, Big Daddy!

[…]

Wouldn't it be funny if that was true…

Related Characters: Big Mama (speaker), Big Daddy (speaker)

No!—It was too rare to be normal, any true thing between two people is too rare to be normal.

Related Characters: Brick (speaker)

Sit in a glass box watching games I can't play? Describing what I can't do while players do it? Sweating out their disgust and confusion in contests I'm not fit for? Drinkin' a coke, half bourbon, so I can stand it?

Related Characters: Brick (speaker)

Maybe that's why you put Maggie and me in this room that was Jack Straw's and Peter Ochello's, in which that pair of old sisters slept in a double bed where both of 'em died!

Related Characters: Brick (speaker), Margaret, Big Daddy

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

Related Characters: Brick (speaker)
Act 3 Quotes

Tonight Brick looks like he used to look when he was a little boy, just like he did when he played wild games and used to come home all sweaty and pink-cheeked and sleepy, with his—red curls shining….

Related Characters: Big Mama (speaker), Brick

Oh, Brick, son of Big Daddy! Big Daddy does so love you! Y’know what would be his fondest dream come true? If before he passed on, if Big Daddy has to pass on, you gave him a child of yours, a grandson as much like his son as his son is like Big Daddy!

Related Characters: Big Mama (speaker), Brick, Big Daddy