Tennessee Williams Research Paper Essay, Research Paper
Tennessee Lanier Williams was born on March 26, 1911 in Columbus, Mississippi. He was the second child of Cornelius Coffin and Edwina Dakin Williams. The family lived in Clarksdale, Mississippi for some time before moving to St. Louis in 1918. At 16 he won third prize for an essay he wrote and received $5. One year later he published “The Vengeance of Nitocris” in Weird Tales. Tennessee entered the University of Missouri in 1929. There he became interested in playwriting. In 1931 he began work for a St. Louis shoe company. Six years later his first play, Cairo, Shanghai, Bombay, was produced beginning his literary and stage career. Tennessee died February 25, 1983 in New York City.
Tennessee Williams was a dramatist. His plays revealed the world of human anger within which violence and sex are hidden by sexual refinement. Small theater groups have produced some of his work while he was in college. In 1939 his first recognition came with American Blues. This work was a group of one-act plays. They won the Group Theater award. After the success of The Glass Menagerie in 1944 Tennessee became a full time writer.
Tennessee’s next major play was A Streetcar Named Desire written in 1947. This was a Pulitzer Prize winning work. It is the study of the mental and moral downfall of Blanche Du Bois. She was a former Southern bell, whose polite pretenses were no match for the harsh realities her brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski symbolizes.
In 1953 Williams wrote Camino Real a mythical work about a microcosmic town. This work was a commercial failure. However, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, in 1955, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and successfully filmed. The Night of the Iguana in 1961, about a minister turned sleazy tour guide who finds god in a Mexican hotel, was also successful.
After a physical breakdown in 1969, Williams’ later plays were unsuccessful. This was due to bad reviews. He also wrote two novels, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone in 1950 and Moise and the World of Reason in 1975. Tennessee Williams’ works won fours Drama Critics’ awards and were translated to languages around the world. His dramas represent the solitude and detachment of life.