A Streetcar Named Desire

554 Words3 Pages
Title: A Streetcar named desire Author: Tennessee Williams Context/Summary: A streetcar named desire is about the extremes of human brutality and sexual behaviours; the author explores parts of the human conditions. The play is a romanticized version of a slum life that reflects the atypical characteristics of New Orleans; particularly in Elysian Fields where the author’s portrayal is the atmosphere that has a crude charm which gracefully attenuates the urban decay and the air that is constantly evoked by the Negro entertainers. The mixed characters are trying to rebuild their lives in post-war America, therefore, Stanley, the son of Polish immigrants, represents the changing face of America. What ideas does this text present about the concept of gender? A streetcar named desire presents a sharp critique of the attitudes towards woman and their roles within society at post-war America. Blanche’s and Stella’s dependence on male companions are strong as they depend on men for both their sustenance and their self-image. Self-appearance is Blanche’s dominant characteristic, she believes to win male attraction and acceptance; a female must act and look a certain way. Inequality in sexes is also a big issue within this play as the male figure is seen to over-power the female figures. Stan is shown as the Alpha male; he holds the position arrogantly within his relationship, which sparks tension between the sexes, typically between Blanche and Stanley. How does this text convey ideas about gender? Stanley is introduced in Scene one as having great authority over Stella; this is shown when he is ‘bellowing’ at her, although she replies calmly, as though such behaviour is acceptable. With a tough tease he shouts, “Hey there! Stella, Baby!” Referring to her as a ‘baby’ could suggest her emotional and material dependence towards the dominant other, is similarly as a
Open Document