Study Guide

Tennessee Williams Quotes

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"It is much easier to give money than love."

Tennessee Williams

"Life has a meaning if you're bucking for heaven. But if heaven is a fantasy, we are in this jungle with whatever we can work out for ourselves. It seems to me that the cards are stacked against us. The only victory is how we take it."

Tennessee Williams

"Williams retains tension the way some people retain fluids."

Time magazine

"I once saw a group of little girls on a Mississippi sidewalk, all dolled up in their mothers' and sisters' cast-off finery, old raggedy ball gowns and plumed hats and high-heeled slippers, enacting a meeting of ladies in a parlor with a perfect mimicry of polite southern gush and simper. But one child was not satisfied with the attention paid her enraptured performance by the others, they were too involved in their own performances to suit her, so she stretched out her skinny arms and threw back her skinny neck and shrieked to the deaf heavens and her equally oblivious playmates, 'Look at me, look at me, look at me!'"And then her mother's high-heeled slippers threw her off balance and she fell to the sidewalk in a great howling tangle of soiled white satin and torn pink net, and still nobody looked at her."I wonder if she is not, now, a southern writer."

Tennessee Williams

"However it is well to be aware of that peril, and not to content yourself with a demand for attention, to know that out of your personal lyricism, your sidewalk histrionics, something has to be created that will not only attract observers but participants in the performance."I try very hard to do that."

Tennessee Williams

"As we painted, I asked Tennessee for advice on writing. [...] He said keep everything very simple and straightforward: be honest to yourself. Although he didn't speak very much, Tennessee noticed everything and felt everything. I think that's what I learned from him: how to be an observer."

Michael Garady

"I'm very conscious of my decline in popularity, but I don't permit it to stop me because I have the example of so many playwrights before me. I know the dreadful notices Ibsen got. And O'Neill—he had to die to make [A Moon For the Misbegotten] successful. And to me it has been providential to be an artist, a great act of providence that I was able to turn my borderline psychosis into creativity—my sister Rose did not manage this. So I keep writing. I am sometimes pleased with what I do—for me, that's enough."

Tennessee Williams

"I always felt like Tennessee and I were compatriots. […] He told the truth as best he perceived it, and never turned away from things that beset or frightened him. We are all diminished by his death."

Marlon Brando

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