* Site-Outage Notice: Our engineering elves will be tweaking the Shmoop site from Monday, December 22 10:00 PM PST to Tuesday, December 23 5:00 AM PST. The site will be unavailable during this time.
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

by Tennessee Williams

Language and Communication Theme

Lies may be perpetuated by an inability or unwillingness to communicate truths. Language then becomes a means of manipulating others, of making a show of following social codes, and of getting what one wants. When characters try to communicate or connect with another, language breaks down and they almost cannot speak.

Questions About Language and Communication

  1. Do characters communicate differently when they are with certain characters or in certain situations?
  2. What forms does communication take in Cat?
  3. How is language used in the play?
  4. When, if ever, does communication break down between characters?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Language is a tool of power in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

By omitting the voices and words of the African-American characters in the play, Tennessee Williams leaves a noticeably gaping hole that would otherwise comment on the Old South.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Noodle's College Search