Tennessee Williams ' A Streetcar Named Desire

854 Words4 Pages
William: Thanks Louis, and thank you for having me here. I 'd like to start by agreeing in part with Matt. The late 1940s were hallmarked by great social upheaval, and Matt 's point about the gender inequality of the time is what really struck with me, and is something that I think is integral to Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire.

The two world wars, had, for a short time, given women access to roles and employment previously dominated by men. There was a definite shift in the social expectations of gender, but by the 1950s, the dominant role had returned to men. Even though there was greater acceptance on a general level, with increasing racial tolerance and broadening views, women were still stereotyped as the weak,
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Matt: So, in saying that Stanley evokes the male stereotype, do you mean to say that every male of the time reflects these values?

William: Well to a point, yes, but my reason for choosing Stanley as an example is that he really is at the far end of the spectrum. Williams’ abstract creation of pure animalistic desires and dominance manifested in a single character, if you will. It’s clear to me what Williams ' was hoping to achieve. Take a look at the demonstration of Stanley during the games of Poker. Stanley exudes an overwhelming sense of authority, making sweeping statements and asserting his opinions freely.

“Nothing belongs on a poker table but cards, chips, and whisky.”

Even in the male dominated society of the late 1940s, he is the alpha male. Despite this, Stanley represents men as a whole, and certainly William’s description of him affirms his dominance of the females present, and misogyny.

If Stanley is plainly brutish, then Blanche slightly more complex. Sister to Stella, Blanche Dubois embodies a delicate, feminine figure, brought up in the decadence and wealth of the Old South, yet she hides a more masculine, aggressive identity. Though she obsesses over such feminine concepts as make-up and flirting with men, other more masculine qualities weigh through, such as her reliance on alcohol. Blanche still tries to mask this however

“Now don 't get worried, your sister hasn 't turned into a
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