Cat on a Hot Tin Roof


Tennessee Williams

Teachers and parents! Our Teacher Edition on Cat on a Hot Tin Roof makes teaching easy.

Memory, Nostalgia, Regret 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.
Memory, Nostalgia, Regret Theme Icon

The happiest moments in the play are the moments that exist in the past, as the characters recall their prior existences. Both Margaret and Brick reference the beginning of their marriage as a happy time, for example, though their present reality proves to be anything but happy. Brick also drinks because he can’t let go of his relationship with Skipper—and his role in Skipper’s decline and death. Brick also speaks about how people like to do the things they used to do, even after they’ve stopped being able to do them—hence, his accident on the high school track field trying to jump hurdles. Similarly, Big Daddy speaks about pursuing women and regrets the fact that he didn’t pursue more women in his youth, instead expending his sexual energy on Big Mama.

Additionally, Big Daddy and Big Mama’s desire for grandchildren from Brick stem from a desire to preserve Big Daddy—they believe that Brick, more than Gooper, is Big Daddy’s son and image, and a grandson fathered by Brick would represent a kind of immortality for Big Daddy and the masculine family line.

Related Themes from Other Texts
Compare and contrast themes from other texts to this theme…

Memory, Nostalgia, Regret ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Memory, Nostalgia, Regret 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:
Get the entire Cat on a Hot Tin Roof LitChart as a printable PDF.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof PDF

Memory, Nostalgia, Regret 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 Memory, Nostalgia, Regret.
Act 1 Quotes

Born poor, raised poor, expect to die poor unless I manage to get us something out of what Big Daddy leaves when he dies of cancer!

Related Characters: Margaret (speaker), Brick, Big Daddy
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2 Quotes

Oh, but St. Paul's in Grenada has three memorial windows, and the latest one is a Tiffany stained-glass window that cost twenty-five hundred dollars, a picture of Christ the Good Shepherd with his Lamb in his arms.

Related Characters: Reverend Tooker (speaker)
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:

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:

I think the reason he buys everything he can buy is that in the back of his mind he has the crazy hopes that one of his purchases will be life everlasting!—Which it never can be….

Related Characters: Big Daddy (speaker)
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:

I'll smother her in—minks! Ha Ha! I'll strip her naked and smother her in minks and choke her with diamonds and smother her with minks and hump her from hell to breakfast.

Related Characters: Big Daddy (speaker)
Page Number: 98
Explanation and Analysis:

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:

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: