Richard Brooks Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

Words: 930
Pages: 4

Literature is a window into the author's era. When we study texts from the 1950s we are able to recognise the values they both challenge and reinforce.

Literature allows us to develop a deeper understanding of the era in which they were composed in by exploring a broad range of the values and concerns of that period. The values of the 1950s can be explored in Richard Brooks’ film adaptation of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) (hereby after Cat), which challenges the gender binary principles in society as well as exposes the false perception of the idealistic family, reflecting the disillusioned values of a 1950s family. Isaac Asimov’s short story, The Last Question (1956) (hereby after Question), further extends our understanding
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Maggie epitomises the “ideal woman” aesthetically, derived from the male gaze, shown by several point of view shots where she is seen preening herself in the mirror. This reflects the accepted value of the 1950s objectified woman: a woman’s worth gauged only by her aesthetics.However this is challenged as Maggie struggles to gain social acceptance of being the ideal wife as explored in Jennifer Holt’s article, The Ideal Woman where the women were considered “domestic caregivers, with sole responsibility for the home and child rearing”. A female’s ability to serve her husband is a value firmly reinforces in Big Daddy’s rhetorical question, “but does he love you?”. Maggie’s incapability to procreate is also heavily scrutinised and demonstrated by Big Daddy’s euphemism for children as “the living proof”. Maggie is judged solely on her inability to make Brick happy or bear children as she is seen “alone for the duration of the play and cannot leave” as described by Niki Fellows when analysing the film, mirroring the 1950s patriarchal society where women are conditioned to