Explore the Ways That Tennessee Williams Constructs the Character of Blanche in a Streetcar Named Desire and Willy Russell Constructs the Character of Rita in Educating Rita in Light of the Opinion That They Have the

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Explore the ways that Tennessee Williams constructs the character of Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire and Willy Russell constructs the character of Rita in Educating Rita in light of the opinion that they have the desire to escape reality and fulfil their fantasies. Despite being set in different periods of history, both plays ‘Educating Rita’ and ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ share similar themes of the fine line between fantasy and reality, and losing yourself in the former. In 1945 Tennessee Williams began work on the play ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’, and with the war ending in the same year, the play to reflects the cultural tensions of World War 2. Many felt uncomfortable being an environment with so many nationalities they were only a few years ago at war with. Cultural tensions are present in Blanche’s remark that Stanley is a ‘Polack’; during World War 2, the Polish were seen as the enemy; Blanche using this insult is not because she is against Polacks, but is her taking advantage of the frequently used insult at the time. Blanche is portrayed as a patriotic ‘Southern Belle’ she believes she can use Polack as an insult as she has the upper hand as an American. This change in society can be compared to Willy Russell’s play ‘Educating Rita’, written in 1979. Despite a time difference of nearly forty years, and a completely different country, there are similarities in terms of cultural change being evident in both plays. ‘Educating Rita’ was written at a time of social change in Britain, females were being given more opportunities with many taking on job previously uncommon for women, and a female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, was now in power, encouraging independence for women. Obviously, this was a great achievement for women in the United Kingdom, but this was still a large change that many had to get used too. Denny is a reflection of the opposite

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