Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Katherine Weiss

Committee Members

Michael Briggs, Kevin O'Donnell


This thesis aims to explore the theme of isolation in the dramatic works of Tennessee Williams using his essay “The Catastrophe of Success” as the base theory text. The essay attacks the American idea of success though an in-depth examination of the “Cinderella myth” that Williams claims is so prevalent in both Hollywood and American Democracy. Williams’ deconstruction of this myth reveals that America’s love for stories like it results the isolation of three groups: homosexuals, women and the physically disabled and terminally ill. Williams passes no judgment on his characters, instead showing their lives as they truly are. Through The Glass Menagerie (1945), A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), Orpheus Descending (1957) and Vieux Carre (1977), Williams gives readers and audiences a glimpse into the lives of isolated individuals, and the struggles each group faces.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright 2017 by Chelsea Gilbert: All Rights Reserved