Cat on the Hot Tin Roof: Brick vs.

Gooper (oral) The topic of my presentation today is going to be the relationship between the two brothers Brick and Gooper Pollitt in Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”. Even though these two characters play a significant role in the family crisis depicted in the play, their actual relationship seems to be little emphasized by the author. I’d like to divide my presentation into 2 major parts, namely Gooper’s attitude towards Brick and vice versa, that is, Brick’s attitude towards Gooper. I will focus on their individual attitudes, rather than their relationship, due to the fact that direct communication is very rare between Brick and Gooper. So, as I mentioned, I’m going to start off with Gooper’s relation to Brick. The first thing to point out about Gooper’s attitude to his younger brother Brick is that he is jealous of him for numerous reasons. Firstly, he resents his parents’ partiality to Brick ever since his little brother was born. Brick is clearly Big Daddy and Big Mama’s favorite son. As an extremely handsome man and pro-football star, he has always received not only more attention than Gooper, but also more attention than he himself appreciates. Big Daddy loves him more than any other family member and is even said to dote on him, while Big Mama still likes to treat him like a little boy. She embraces and kisses him, calls him “her precious baby” and even her “only son”, completely oblivious to Gooper’s presence, which makes Gooper become “tense with sibling envy”. Moreover, Gooper, his wife and their 5 screechers are downright odious to Big Daddy. The unfairness is further accentuated in light of the two brothers’ accomplishments in life. Brick is an alcoholic, unemployed, crippled, childless and as far as we know, could even be homosexual. Brick’s 8 years older brother Gooper on the other hand, is a responsible man, husband and father, working as a corporation lawyer in Memphis. He has married into society and his wife Mae already given birth to 5 children, being pregnant yet again. Furthermore, Gooper has worked hard to keep up Big Daddy’s estate as his health started failing and even took care of his medical treatment. He therefore feels that considering the circumstances, the only decent, fair and square deal would be for him as the eldest and more reliable son to inherit Big Daddy’s fortune. Nonetheless, Big Daddy sees this as a last resort to only be carried out over his dead body, were Brick not to cooperate. Yet, he intends to straighten Brick out in order for him to be able to take over the business. The final straw however, which makes his younger brother’s presence so unbearable for Gooper, is Brick’s indifference, accompanied by the charm of the defeated. In effect, he is going to come off as winner in this family crisis, without even really participating. Brick takes no interest whatsoever in the inheritance of his father’s business and remains unengaged as well as absent-minded during most of the play. He rarely responds and is merely waiting for the mechanical click in his head that makes him peaceful. Ultimately, Big Daddy and Big Mama appear to be more concerned about Brick’s wellbeing than Brick is about theirs, let alone his own. If it were up to Gooper, Brick would be sent to Rainbow Hill, an institution famous for treating alcoholics. I’m now going to move on to my second topic, which is, pretty straight forward, the attitude of Brick towards Gooper. In short, Brick is little preoccupied with Gooper or his scheming since he has other things troubling him. He drinks to take those things off his mind and in doing so he ends up further and even completely inhibiting any interaction with his brother. It is a vicious circle. There are only two references to Gooper on Brick’s behalf: Once he says, “Frig Mae and Gooper, frig all dirty lies and liars!”, obviously indicating his dislike of Gooper’s dishonesty, while on another occasion, he calls his brother “Gooper boy” curiously enough, revealing his own superiority regardless of his age. Maybe Brick tries to tease Gooper by addressing him as Big Mama would only address her younger son, thereby mocking at his jealousy. To round of my speech, I would like to sum up Gooper’s feelings for Brick and Brick’s feelings for Gooper in just two words: Jealousy and Indifference. Thank you for your attention.

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