By Roger Boxill (auth.)
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Extra resources for Tennessee Williams
Renee says she met Byron - she dropped her glove and he returned it - suggests a high-strung girl's romantic fabrication. What happened next between the man on the steps, whoever he may have been, and the 'faint' and 'breathless' Southern belle we can only guess, because the old woman stops the spinster's reading at that crucial point in the journal. Most teasing of all, the climax of the presentation- the great man's love letter itself- the tourists are permitted to view from a distance but not to read.
The homeless prostitute with dreams of past glory reappears as the eloquent and histrionic Willie in This Property is Condemned. In Where I Live Williams remembers a time he once saw a group of little girls on a sidewalk in Mississippi all dressed up in their mothers' and sisters' finery - old party frocks, fancy hats, and highheeled slippers - mimicking a gathering of Southern ladies in a parlour. ' before falling down from her heels in a heap of soiled white satin and torn pink net. He wonders if she grew up to become a Southern writer.
But the cherished past cannot withstand the vulgar onslaught of hibernal days. The humiliating reality of age disrupts the belle reve of youth. The pathetic attempt to arrest time, to hold forever love's young dream, has turned the belle into an embittered old crone reduced to selling precious memories to strangers. A contrapuntal stage direction follows the recitation of the sonnet to Byron: 'The band, leading the parade, has started down the street, growing rapidly louder. It passes by like the heedless, turbulent years.