Tennessee Williams Essay Research Paper Everything in — страница 2

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Tennessee pioneer and Williams found his own significant meaning behind it. He said the Williamses had fought the Indians for Tennessee and I had already discovered the life of a younger writer was going to be something similar to the defense of a stockade against a band of savages (Magill 1088). During this time, Tennessee produced a few of his own plays locally. His work attracted the interest of important literary agent, Audrey Wood, and helped him to receive grants. Therefore, In 1940, Tennessee produced his first full-length, professional play, Battle of Angels, and failed miserably. After his defeat in Chicago, Tennessee moved to New Orleans where he launched his career as a writer. His move to New Orleans presented a tremendous turning point in his life; he had a new name,

a new home, and a promising talent. By 1944, he was a smash hit on Broadway with The Glass Menagerie and he had won that year s New York Critics Circle, Donaldson, and Sidney Howard Memorial Awards. In 1947, he was the first playwright to receive the Pulitzer Prize, the New York Critics Circle Award, and the Donaldson Award in the same year for A Streetcar Named Desire. In the course of his career, Williams accumulated four New York Drama Critics Awards; three Donaldson Awards; a Tony Award for his 1951 screenplay, The Rose Tattoo; the Brandeis University Creative Arts Award (1965); a Medal of Honor from the National Arts Club (1975); the $11,000 Commonwealth Award (1981); and an honorary doctorate from Harvard University (1982). He was honored by President Carter at Kennedy

Center in 1979, and named Distinguished Writer in Residence at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, in 1981. He also wrote over 30 full-length plays, numerous short plays, two volumes of poetry, and five volumes of poetry and short stories. Success enabled Tennessee to travel and buy a home in Key West, a new place to which Williams could escape for both relaxation and writing. Around this time, Williams met Frank Merlo. They fell in love and Merlo existed as Williams romantic partner until Merlo s untimely death. When Merlo died of lung cancer in 1961, Tennessee went into a deep depression that lasted ten years. Merlo had served as a steadying influence on Williams, who already suffered mildly from depression, because he lived in fear that he, like his sister, would go

insane. The sixties brought hard times for Tennessee Williams. He had become dependent on drugs, and the problem only grew worse after the death of his partner. Williams was also insecure about his work, which was sometimes of inconsistent quality, and he was violently jealous of younger playwrights. Williams later plays were not considered his best, because overwork and drug use had taken his toll on him. On February 23, 1983 Tennessee died tragically; he choked to death on the plastic top to his eye medication which he possibly mistook for a sleeping pill. It is a curious coincidence that his life ended in a place that shared the name of the apartment building in which one of his best known characters, Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire, met her figurative end (Classic

Notes 1). He died in the Elysee Hotel in New York; the name of her apartment was Elysian Fields. It is appropriate that Tennessee died in a hotel, as this serves as the traditional haven of wanderers, outcasts, and loners, rather than in his home at Key West or in New Orleans. He was buried in St. Louis, in a Catholic Ceremony at the request of his brother. Although Tennessee Williams denied that his writing was autobiographical, elements from his life appear frequently in his work. Because Tennessee had experienced many conflicts with sexuality, society, and Christianity, he also displayed these conflicts in his work. For example, The Glass Menagerie is an autobiographical representation of two days in St. Louis. The play tells the story of Tom, his disabled sister, and his

controlling mother. This family situation is very similar to his own; however, he omits his father and younger brother from the story. In A Streetcar Named Desire, Williams shows the reality of people s lives. He wrote this play believing that he was about to die; therefore, he wrote what he felt needed to be said. When this play was first presented, it was considered shocking because of its presentation of sexual issues. Moreover, several of Tennessee s plays contained homosexual characters. Since the themes of desperation, loneliness, violence, irrational actions are found in his pieces and the majority of his pieces are set in the South, Tennessee s works are often considered to be part of the Southern Gothic Genre. Williams had a unique style of writing and an innovative