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Examples Of Discrimination In A Streetcar Named Desire

Decent Essays
Back in the 1940’s, gender stereotypes existed to a larger extent. Tennessee Williams casts a light on this issue in his play, “A Streetcar Named Desire” in which he shows how Homosexuals; such as Blanche’s husband Allan Grey was cut from the society. During the 1940’s, the concept of homosexuality was completely unusual and many people termed it to be unethical and almost a crime (Straight from the Closet). As a result, Allan Grey has been briefly mentioned but he has a huge role to play in Blanche’s mental breakdown and Williams has constantly made his presence felt through Blanche’s character.

Homosexuality was illegal in the 1940’s and Williams attempts to address this issue through Blanche’s perspective. Blanche represents the old American
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Allan Grey’s death made Blanche into a whole new person and he was the cause of this strange behavior of her’s. The stage direction at the start of the scene 9; the ‘Varsouviana’ tune is playing in Blanche’s mind and she is drinking to escape it and the sense of disaster… (p.113). The author uses the symbol of alcohol to make the reader realize that Blanche drinks so that she escapes from her past; Allan Grey. This can also be seen from the motif of bathing. “A hot bath and a long, cold drink always gives me a brand new outlook on life!” (p.105), this quote is a way of showing that bathing makes her feel clean. The reader assumes that Blanche’s constant act of bathing is symbolizing her effort to clean herself of all the memories of her husband, but she is unable to do so. Lastly, another implication of Allan Grey on Blanche’s life is through her sexual encounters. In scene 5, Blanche encounters a young man and flirts with him, “It would be nice to keep you, but I’ve got to be good and keep my hands off children” (p.84). Through this phrase, the reader knows that after her husband’s truth, her marriage, her desires were all destroyed and as a result she now seeks refuge in sexual encounters with strangers. The quote above clearly indicates to the reader that Blanche has had an encounter with a young boy, earlier. Moreover, the reader could also interpret…show more content…
Williams makes use of a plastic theatre element; Varsouviana Polka to show how the tragic suicide of Blanche’s husband is still affecting her. In scene 1, when Stanley asks Blanche about her marriage, there is a faint Varsouviana polka heard (p.31). This stage direction allows the reader to know that Blanche is brought to reality where she considers herself guilty for her husband’s death. The intensity of this polka tune is more rapid in scene 9, when Mitch confronts Blanche about her truth (p.113). The purpose of the rapid polka tune is to make it clear in the reader’s mind that Blanche’ s illusion of getting married to Mitch as a way to get rid of her past, is brought back to reality when Mitch refuses her proposal. It also marks the increasing mental collapse as she realizes it’s the end of her illusion and only reality exists. Towards the end, in scene 11, the Varsouviana tune plays continuously when the doctor and the nurse come to take Blanche to the mental asylum (p.139). This final act and the Varsouviana playing in the background helps the reader to clearly recognize the ultimate mental breakdown of Blanche and eventually facing the
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