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A Streetcar Named Desire
Transcript of A Streetcar Named Desire
As the play progresses, Stanley's plan works. Stella and Mitch gradually part away from Blanche. They judge Blanche and her past; they focus on her past mistakes and flaws. They see that Blanche was immoral in her past relations with men and looked no further. They were oblivious to the pain, loneliness, struggle, unhappiness, and rejection that Blanche experienced.
Conforming to Southern Society
In an attempt to gain social approval and find a man who would take care of her after losing her old husband Allan, Blanche interacts with men in a suggestive manner that she thinks makes her seem attractive. "After the death of Allan--intimacies with strangers was all I [Blanche] seemed able to fill my empty heart with...hunting for some protection." Therefore she starts to conform less to the old South's norms, which forbid such interactions between unmarried men and women. Yet at the same time, she still adheres to the Southern norm of rejecting people of different race and class. Part of the reason why she is disappointed by her sister Stella would be the fact that her sister married a Polish immigrant from a lower class. Thus, Blanche also becomes rejected by Stanley in the New Orleans society. The impact of being denied acceptance both in the South and in New Orleans might have led to her eventual tragic downfall, as she lost her position as a teacher, was abused by Stanley, developed mental disorders due to frustrations, and was taken to a mental asylum.
The Southern Man
By: Chris Lee, Jonathon Montgomery, Ahmad Al Saadi
A Streetcar Named Desire
, Tennessee Williams highlights the Southern societal norms prevalent in mid-20th century America such as gender inequalities and roles, women's absurdity and subservience to men, and men's dominance over women that pressure women to create superficial appearances that disguise their social reality. These social norms engender tragic disasters for prideful women.
Looking through a Sociological point of view
Throughout the play, Blanche lied to Stella, Stanley, and Mitch about herself and immoral life. This created a high-class and sophisticated appearance that even Blanche herself wanted and so started to believe in.
Appearance vs. Reality
Blanche had freedom of expression, but only at the inward disdain of the others. Stanley was very blunt, rough, and authoritative. He was not not used to Blanche's personality, he disliked her because he felt that she threatened his authority.
Stanley realizes that Blanche's outward appearance and personality were only disguises which she created in order to protect herself. Stanley attacked Blanche's weakness-her reality. He destroyed Blanche by exposing her reality to the world.
"Her appearance is incongruous to the setting. She is daintily dressed in a white suit with a fluffy bodice, necklace and earrings of pearl, white gloves and hat, looking as if she were arriving at a summer tea or cocktail party in the garden district."
Stanley- “Some men are took in by this Hollywood glamour stuff and some men are not”
In the story, many women tended to be helpless. This lack of control caused them to depend on men in order to make progress as members of society. Men accepted women under certain conditions. Women who failed to meet those requirements were rejected. Stanley accepts Stella as a partner, as long as she cooks, cleans, and shows respect for him, all of which she does. Blanche however was rejected in the South for having illegal relationships with strangers and in New Orleans by Stanley for criticizing his beastly behavior and offensively calling him a "Pollack." Whether by force or by voluntary compliance, women eventually succumbed to men's desires. Voluntary compliance is demonstrated by Stella, who always obeys Stanley, even when he rudely hits her and when he crudely tosses her a loaf of meet to cook for him. "He [Stanley] heaves the package [of meat] at her [Stella]. She cries out in protest but manages to catch it; then she laughs breathlessly." Blanche, however, attempts to have some dominance over the Kowalski home, trying to restrict Stanley's animalism and as a result is raped by Stanley. Stanley's cruelty illustrates the terrible norm of physical abuse as punishment for disobedient women.
In "A Street Car Named Desire," the characteristics and behavior of the male characters reflect the setting and time period by employing the stereotypes of the 1940s "Southern Man". These characteristics include an aggressive and demanding nature that demands authority and respect, and a command for control. The typical southern man will commonly try to force dominance onto others, especially onto women. Furthermore, these men are arrogant and exert their brawn in order to establish authority. Not taking "No" for an answer, these men are go-getters, often forcing women to submit to their whims.
The "Southern Man" as seen
through the male characters
The male characters such as Stanley and Mitch seen in "A Street Car Named Desire" reflect the attributes of the "Southern man." This can 1st in the tension between Blanche and Stanley. Blanche attempts to establish sense of individuality and free will, which clashes with Stanley's dominating attitude. Blanche's free mind is a startlingly opposite to the submissive natures of the other women like Stella. However, Blanche's individuality ultimately initiates her doom as Stanley and the other men wrestle her down to gain dominance over her.
Other examples of the "southern man" include Stanley's
Napoleonic code, bowling and drunken table games, aggressive reactions, and Stanleys forced intercourse with Blanche. The Napoleonic and drunken parties exemplify the power the men have over the women in this southern society and illustrates the stern husband and submissive wife. Furthermore, Stanleys aggressive tendancys towards Stella, Blanche, and his buddies, depict the arrogant, "don't take no for an answer" mindset.
Finally, Stanley triumphs and once again gains complete dominance.
His last act of forced intercourse with Blanche is Stanleys last effort to establish control and is what eventually sends Blanche over the edge, and to a mental institution.
"what belongs to the wife belongs to the husband"