The Off-Stage Telephone

Cat makes great use of off-stage sound, marking the presence of spies in the household. The telephone recurs a number of times. Initially Mama and Maggie's conversations rehearse the lie that keeps Big Daddy and Mama ignorant of the machinations afoot, the lie that Daddy will live. The telephone will then return at Brick and Big Daddy's showdown to provoke the revelation of what has remained inadmissible until then. Here a phone call, as if a call from the dead, evokes Skipper's final confession to his friend. Upon Brick's revelation of Daddy's cancer, the telephone communicates Daddy's unspoken protest: "no, no, you got it all wrong! Upside down! Are you crazy?"

The Exotic Lands

Before confronting Brick on Skipper, Daddy takes a rather strange detour through his travels with Big Mama to Europe and North Africa. Daddy's memories of his travels introduce a motif familiar to Williams's readers: the Mediterranean/North Africa as a primal space, a space savagery, lawlessness, and sexual excess, all things that civilization would repress. These exotic locales and their inhabitants become ciphers for the desires that remain repressed at the home. It is not for nothing that later Brick tells of a fraternity pledge who flees to North Africa when the brothers discover that he is a sodomite.