Blanche DuBois: The Antithesis of a Modern Woman Essay

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BLANCHE DUBOIS: THE ANTITHESIS OF A MODERN WOMAN

"Blanche DuBois, in 'A Streetcar Named Desire', is what a critic Ruby Cohn calls Williams' 'masterpiece contradiction'". (Bloom 70) Tennessee Williams is considered to be one of the most renowned playwrights of the twentieth century in American Literary History. As a playwright, he is best known for writing 'A Streetcar Named Desire', 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof', and 'The Glass Menagerie'. Williams' 'A Streetcar Named Desire', focuses on the declining sanity of his central character, Blanche DuBois. While Tennessee Williams considered Blanche DuBois to be a liberated, modern woman, many feminist critics contend that she is just the opposite. Compared to other authors, Tennessee
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His experiences in St. Louis, especially his first homosexual affair, greatly influenced his writing. At one point, Williams states, ?Is a lifetime long enough to hold the regret that I have for that fantastically aborted but crazily sweet love-affair?? (Williams 33) Williams later moved to New Orleans to strengthen his writing career, but he mentions his regret for leaving his lover behind. In a conversation with Professor William S. Gray, Williams stated, ??the three of us had great fun together ? early afternoons swimming at Pontchartrain Beach, late afternoons having long conversations over a cool drink on patio, evenings eating at some French Quarter restaurant, then walking around the colorful streets of the Quarter. These are among the happiest memories of my life.? (Steen 14) From the first moment that he arrived in New Orleans, Williams completely fell in love with the place. He has been quoted on several occasions saying, ?The French Quarter is my inspiration for writing ?A Streetcar Named Desire??. Williams? ?A Streetcar Named Desire? is set in a poor section of the French Quarter in New Orleans. The reader is immediately introduced to the main character, Blanche DuBois, who is daintily dressed in white, a color associated with innocence and chastity. Literary critic, John Gassner, states, ?Like other southern heroines of Williams, who invariably suggest Picasso?s dehydrated ?Demoiselles d?Avignon?, Blanche DuBois is not only a recognizable
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