Homo americanus: Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, and Queer Masculinities
Influence study. Examines the sociohistorical, sociopolitical, and literary connections between the two authors, primarily through an intertextual reading of The Sun Also Rises and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955). Discusses the ironic endings of both texts, focusing specifically on the protagonists’ struggles with sexual identity and the construction of queer masculinity. Bak views Williams’s evolving relationship with his heterosexual audience of the Cold War and homosexual audience after the Stonewall gay liberation movement through the lens of Hemingway’s fiction. Argues that Hemingway’s posthumous novels (Islands in the Stream, The Garden of Eden, and True at First Light) more openly support Williams’s efforts to challenge the Cold War’s sexual politics than earlier works such as The Sun Also Rises.