The play, "Past Meridian" by Martin Williams, deals with
the sensitive issue of homosexuality. Two of America's most
respected authors, Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams,
have a chance encounter. Their conversation at first deals
with superficial matters but in time it becomes more
serious and retrospective and both men reveal their inner
struggles and emotional conflicts that they have never
shared with anyone.
Tennessee Williams is portrayed throughout the play as a
man who had a somewhat contrasting life style between what
was natural to him and what the South expected of him. For
example, Williams was gay. He first realized this when he
began to feel a strong attachment for a boy named Gordon at
a summer camp.
He was only 15 at the time and didn't understand the
feelings he was experiencing for he had never heard of such
feelings for a boy. He was confused and depressed because
he was different from what the South stood for in this
respect. Yet, other than this, he did share much of the
same values of his native homeland. He wore a yellow ribbon
around his neck, a clean white shirt and tan pants; all
straight and defined as was his southern style. His other
problem which made him different was the lack of a male
role model as his father was an alcoholic who abused him.
He hated his father and developed a very close relationship
with his mother.
Ernest Hemingway, believes that he is vastly different from
Tennessee Williams, but in time he comes to realize that
they share a common battle. Ernest Hemingway is depicted as
a man who enjoys being a "traditional man" -- drinking beer
and relaxing smoking a pipe. On the other hand Tennessee
Williams is a very straight-laced and smooth-talking
individual who is not fond of beer. In contrast to
Tennessee William's mother, Ernest's mother was a mean and
cruel woman. Ernest refers to Williams's mother as a
"bitch" when Williams described his mother as "a woman who
would bake the finest cookies in the south."
Hemingway and Tennessee WIlliams have one thing in common
-- they both love men. Hemingway, like Williams, had a love
in his life who was named Karl. Karl was the bullfighter
depicted in Ernest's book, "The Bullfighter." Hemingway
describes him as a "beautiful man." Yet no one knows this
bit of information which is kept in Ernest's closet. Now,
Hemingway reveals his secret to Tennessee Williams. All of
these events add to a collision course between two great
authors, or better yet, two confused men.
"Prime Meridian" is a play about two men who come to
understand themselves and their innermost thoughts and
feelings through monologues and arguments with each other.
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