After reading Act I, I am the most fascinated with the character of Margaret, or ‘Maggie the cat.’, or perhaps, how she compares and contrasts with Brick.
I find it interesting that the stereotypical sexual roles are reversed in Brick and Maggie’s marriage. Maggie seems admittedly desperate to sleep with Brick. It is revealed that they have not slept together in quite some time. While most couples have ‘lulls’, it is more common for us to think that the wife would prolong the lull, for reasons of boredom, dissatisfaction, low sex drive, or any other thing we could think of. It was pretty surprising for me to find out that Brick was the one disinterested in Maggie.
The interactions between the two of them are comical to me. Maggie seems to go and on, in an almost frantic way, and Brick is very apathetic and distracted. Physically, they are somewhat contradicting, as well. Maggie is described as having lovely arms, and it is implied that she has a shapely figure. While it is stated that Brick is firm like a young man, some of the descriptions make him sound like a young boy. He is also crippled at the time, from a broken ankle. While reading, I thought of Maggie as this small, fierce, feisty little thing, and Brick as this slowed down, methodical, passive individual. They are certainly an interesting pair. I’m excited to see the scenes played out, to see how the characters are portrayed.
During the bedroom scene, the only conversation piece to make Brick bristle seems to be mention of his deceased friend, Skipper. It is implied that Skipper was more than just a dear friend to Brick. If Brick did in fact have romantic feelings for Skipper, it could potentially help make sense of the reason(s) behind his lack of interest in Maggie (and it could explain why Maggie described his style of love-making as ‘indifferent’).
I would like to see what else we find out as the play goes on. I wonder why Maggie is so stuck on Brick, especially if she suspects he had feelings for his male friend, and since he has rejected her so often. She is anything but oblivious, so I would like to find out what is making her cling to their rather lifeless relationship/marriage.
One more thought I have is: what is influencing her to want children so badly? Is it just because it would essentially make Brick sleep with her, so she would finally feeling like she won? Or is it because she wants to show up Mae as the better mother (since Maggie believes Mae lets her children run rampant)? Or is there another reason behind it?
EDIT: After re-reading this post, another questions popped into my head… why does Big Mama seem to think it’s fair to blame Maggie for the childless marriage? Obviously, Maggie would be the one to get pregnant, but I think it is wildly unfair for a mother-in-law to put so much pressure on the wife, especially since sex and conception of a baby takes two people. She should be confronting her son, as well.
From what I’ve read, I think this play ties very well into the class theme; it connects love, citizenship, and belonging quite well. The element of love could be discussed through the various relationships and marriages, and the feeling specific characters have/had for one another (i.e. Brick and Skipper, Maggie and Brick). Citizenship could be explored through their influence as an affluent, important plantation family for their region, Belonging could be touched upon in many ways, but especially within the context of societal expectations in marriage, parenting, and family dynamics.