Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Andrew Taylor


This thesis explores the theme of the Outsider in the plays of American dramatist, Tennessee Williams. My central line of argument is that these Outsiders are defeated and destroyed by a number of complex personal and societal forces. After defining what it means to be an Outsider in a Williams play, I will proceed to investigate why and how the figure of the Outsider is destroyed in the following: - 27 Wagons Full of Cotton - Portrait of a Madonna - A Streetcar Named Desire - Orpheus Descending - Suddenly Last Summer - Sweet Bird of Youth. The first two plays are earlier lesser-known one-act plays and the next four are 'major' works written after Williams was established as an important literary figure. In particular, I will examine the factors - both internal and external – that contribute to an individual becoming an Outsider and consider in turn how they cope with their plight. Whether the Outsider is insane, neurotic, sexually different, weak, a foreigner, a failure, or a Southern Belle (or a combination of these), they all put up a hopeless struggle against a world that violently destroys them.