Multigenerational Transmission Process in Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Najah A. F. Alzoubi


This paper explores the concept of multigenerational emotional process in Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. This concept is derived from the psychiatrist Murray Bowen’s theory that is called Bowen family systems theory and it includes eight interlocking concepts: differentiation of self, triangles, nuclear family emotional system, family projection process, sibling position, multigenerational emotional process, emotional cutoff, and societal emotional process. The concept of multigenerational emotional process expands the emotional system from the circle of the nuclear family to a larger circle of grandparents and extended family. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is the distinctly multigenerational play in Williams’s drama. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof signifies two noticeable generations representing the transmission of the Southern heritage intergenerationally on both emotional and cultural levels.

Full Text:




Berkowitz, Gerald. M. American Drama of the Twentieth Century. London: Longman, 1992. Print.

Bigsby, C. W. E. A Critical Introduction to Twentieth-Century American Drama. Vol. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984. Print.

Bowen, Murray. Family Therapy in Clinical Practice. New Jersey: Jason and Aronson, 1978. Print.

Donahue, Francis. The Dramatic World of Tennessee Williams. New York: Fredrick Ungar, 1964. Print.

DSM-I (1952) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Washington DC: American Psychiatric Association.

DSM-II (1968) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Washington DC: American Psychiatric Association.

Griffin, Alice. Understanding Tennessee Williams. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, 1995. Print.

Hale, Nathan G. The Rise and Crisis of Psychoanalysis in the United States: Freud and the Americans, 1917-1985. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995. Print.

Hall, C. Margaret. The Bowen Family Theory and Its Uses. New York: Jason Aronson, 1981. Print.

Hirsch, Foster. A Portrait of the Artist: The Plays of Tennessee Williams. New York: Kennikat Press, 1979. Print.

Kerr, Michael E. and Bowen, Murray. Family Evaluation: An Approach Based on Bowen Theory. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1988.

Klever, Phillip (2004) “The Multigenerational Transmission of Nuclear Family Processes and Symptoms”. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 32 .4 (2004): 337-51. Print.

Palmer, R. Barton and Bray, William Robert. Hollywood’s Tennessee: The Williams Films and Postwar America. University of Texas Press, 2009. 8 January 2015.

Savran, David Communists, Cowboys, and Queers: The Politics of Masculinity in the Work of Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams. The University of Minnesota, 1992. 25 June 2015.

Shackelford, Dean. “The Truth That Must Be Told: Gay Subjectivity, Homophobia, and Social History in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, The Tennessee Williams Annual Review, 1998. 1(1998): 103-118. Web. 14 January 2014.

Tischler, Nancy M. Tennessee Williams: Rebellious Puritan. New York: The Citadel Press, 1965. Print.

Weimer, Christopher Brian. “Journeys from Frustration to Empowerment: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and its Debt to Garda Lorca's Yerma’”. Modern Drama 35.4 (1992): 520-529. Print.

Williams, Tennessee: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Other Plays: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore, The Night of the Iguana. Browne, E. Martin, ed. New York: Penguin Books, 1976. Print.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Najah A. F. Alzoubi

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.

Copyright © Macrothink Institute   ISSN 2332-5518