PJAS 13-12

Michał Choiński
Figures of Contrast in Tennessee Williams’s Summer and Smoke
Polish Journal for American Studies, vol. 13 (Autumn 2019), pp. 321-330

Abstract: Ostensibly, Tennessee Williams’s Summer and Smoke (1948) revolves around the figurative contrasts between the bodily and the spiritual. This bifurcation is the basis of the clash between the play’s two main characters: John Buchanan and Alma Winemiller, whose unfulfilled romance is for Williams a study of the tragic impossibility of a conflation of opposites. In the construction of the characters, Williams shows a great deal of figurative “plasticity”–he is particular about the metaphors used to designate two sides of the central contrast. This article adopts the figurative approach to study how the playwright constructs John and Alma in metaphorical terms, as contrastive macrofigures, and to demonstrate how this figurative perspective allows him to escalate the tragedy of their impossible romance.

Keywords: Summer and Smoke, Tennessee Williams, macrofiguration, figurative contrast

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