Tennessee Williams utilizes heterosexual female protagonists with unstable identities in two of his major plays, A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, in order to covertly represent and explore themes of male homosexuality and desire, they are Blanche DuBois and Maggie Pollitt, respectively. He does this because he is writing for a largely conservative and heterosexual audience of which anyone who might be homosexual would likely be in the closet, this is clearly evocative of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s notion of the “Open Secret”. Through their involvement and presumably sexual partnerships with men of dubious heterosexuality, Blanche DuBois and Maggie Pollitt become aligned with homosexuals and associated with homosexuality. Williams employs elements such as Camp and subverted forms of the Patriarchal Gaze in order to further interrogate and trouble our sense of Blanche’s and Maggie’s femaleness.
"Cat on a Hot Streetcar Named Desire: Interrogations of Femaleness— Or, the Mad Heroine Coded as Homosexual— in Two Plays by Tennessee Williams,"
Proceedings of GREAT Day: Vol. 2011, Article 11.
Available at: https://knightscholar.geneseo.edu/proceedings-of-great-day/vol2011/iss1/11