Reworking Gothic Archetypes Affectively

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Mrs. McIntosh ENG4U 13 January 2012 Reworking Gothic Archetypes Effectively Within the play, Blanche, Stanley, and Stella represent a few of the gothic archetypes that are studied in literature. However, the characters that symbolize the archetypes are reworked in order to follow the characteristics of Southern Gothic literature. Southern Gothic literature is described as a specific type of writing that often focuses on the social and moral inadequacies of the Southern American society. One major element of Southern Gothic literature is the reworking of gothic archetypes. When reworked, the gothic archetypes of the femme fatale, Byronic hero, and madwoman are effective due to the fact that they subsequently represent the central themes of loneliness through Blanche, desire through Stanley, and fantasy through Stella in “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams. The gothic archetype of the femme fatale in the play is most closely related to Blanche as she is considered to be the “dangerously charming” female in the play to most, however, Stanley is not swindled by her allure as he does not “go in for that stuff” (Williams 39). Due to the fact that Blanche’s charisma does not affect Stanley in the way that it affects most men, the gothic archetype of the femme fatale is effectively reworked through Blanche’s character to represent the central theme of loneliness within the play. Blanche is not accustomed to her charm failing in regards to men, which causes her to become even more insecure than she originally is. She is always “fishing for a compliment” (39) which usually leads to her self-esteem growing, however, with Stanley, her self-worth plunges when he does not oblige her with a nice comment. Stanley’s lack of interest in Blanche represents her descent into loneliness, a central theme in the play. Her insecurity flourishes as the play continues as
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