Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

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.

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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:
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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

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)
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:

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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
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:

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

Related Characters: Margaret (speaker), Brick
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:

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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
Related Symbols: Brick’s Crutch
Page Number: 76
Explanation and Analysis:

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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)
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:

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Why are you so anxious to shut me up?

Well, sir, every so often you say to me, Brick, I want to have a talk with you, but when we talk, it never materializes. Nothing is said. […] Communication is—awful hard between people an'—somehow between you and me, it just don't—

Related Characters: Brick (speaker), Big Daddy (speaker)
Page Number: 92
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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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)
Page Number: 115
Explanation and Analysis:

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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
Related Symbols: The Bed
Page Number: 118
Explanation and Analysis:

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

Related Characters: Brick (speaker)
Page Number: 122
Explanation and Analysis:

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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
Page Number: 161
Explanation and Analysis:

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