One of Tennessee Williams’ most subtle and tender works, Summer and Smoke explores the conflict between the hedonistic body and the lofty spirit. Set in Mississippi, Alma Winemiller, the minister’s daughter, has grown up loving the boy who lives next door: John Buchanan, the doctor’s son, is a wild, adventurous, mischievous pleasure seeker. He spends the hot Mississippi summers drinking, gambling, and romancing. His only religion is the anatomy chart on his wall, and what it teaches him about man’s needs: food, truth, and lovemaking. Alma, on the other hand, is quiet, eccentric, and high-strung. Her name means “soul” in Spanish; she aspires to lofty spiritual goals, and holds to strong moral standards. Despite their differences, John and Alma are magnetically drawn to each other, and the spiritual and physical romance that almost blooms between the two of them is among the most engaging, romantic, and heartbreaking love stories in Williams’ canon.
Summer and Smoke guide sections