Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
by Tennessee Williams
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Wealth Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Page.Line). Every time a character talks counts as one line, even if what they say turns into a long monologue. We used the New Directions edition of the play, published in 1971.
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! (I.60)
Maggie doesn't hide her motives from us or from Brick. She has her own ghosts that haunt her, and these ghosts have to do with the poverty that she knows so well.
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. (II.63)
Wealth and religion intersect in Cat through a Reverend who seems more concerned about luxury and enhancements to his church than about the spiritual well being of his flock. He's acutely aware of the wealth around him and, instead of helping to support a family haunted by death, he discusses material possessions and must leave when the talk turns to Big Daddy's cancer. Big Daddy points to the human tendency to buy and buy and buy in the hopes of finding life everlasting. It would seem the world of Cat is bereft of a spiritual center or of belief in higher power.
Why is it funny? All my family ever had was family—and luxuries such as cashmere robes still surprise me! (II.71)
Maggie has grown up poor. While she definitely knows how and when to fight for her stake in Big Daddy's wealth, she does so not out of greed, but out of a complete understanding of what it means to scrape by and to live in poverty.