Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Bryan C. Reeder

Second Advisor

Robert Scoggins

Third Advisor

Donnell B. Walsh


The Library of Congress lists over eighty books that deal exclusively with Tennessee Williams. A vast number of these books cover anecdotal information about Tennessee's personal life, experiences, and relationships through his emotionally turbulent life. A great deal of biographical material presents conflicting accounts and many authors claim to have " the real story'' on Tennessee's life and loves.

If the reader is interested in titillating tidbits on Tennessee, this is not the paper to read. However, Mr. Tennessee Williams wrote from bis heart and his life experiences. Because of this, attention needs to be paid to how he drew his characters to put them so eloquently on the page. Many of his characters were semi-biographical in nature, thus understanding parts of Tennessee's life and relationships will lead to a fuller understanding of his work. Rather than repeating gossip, innuendo, and oft' told stories about Tennessee Williams, this paper is going to take a quarter-tum towards a new direction.

An important theme that will be discussed is Williams' characters' perception of the truth as they see it. The study that follows will deal with the way Tennessee saw his plays, the way the critics saw them, the way the audience perceived and received his work, and bow his family and peers viewed the biographical slant in his plays. It is the conjecture of this student of theatre, just as it was of Tennessee Williams, that the truth is how one views it, and there can be many truths to be viewed.

The three plays that will be studied are A Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof More in-depth study will be assigned to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. That play will be performed in July of 1999, and this student will portray the character of Big Mama in the production as a part of requirement for this thesis.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License