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Power, violence and manipulation in A Streetcar Named Desire

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Giulia Doria

on 10 March 2015

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Transcript of Power, violence and manipulation in A Streetcar Named Desire

Definition
Being able to control or influence (a person or situation) cleverly / unscrupulously
Manipulation
Power
Definition
Behaviour involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something
Symbols of violence
Violence
A. Verbal Power
Stanley's violence oppresses his friends
-> Scene 8, call from Mac (bowling partner) "I'm the team captain ain't I?"
-> Scene 11, Mitch to Stanley "You done this, all o' your God damn interfering"
A. Oppression & Entrapment
The Great Gatsby
: both Tom and Gatsby try to manipulate Daisy;
Things Fall Apart
: the whites manipulate and trick the tribe into believing them; then use violence to assert their power on the colonies.
Parallel with
A Streetcar Named Desire
Presentation n°3
Power: violence and manipulation

The winning hand
Isabel
& Giulia

What is power ?
The capacity to direct or influence the behaviour of other characters or change the course of events
Who are the powerful characters ?

I. Types of Power
A. Verbal Power (I)
B. Manipulation (I)
C. Violence: physical power (G)
Introduction - Plan
The Poker Party
a game for power, where violence and manipulation are common tools
II - Csq: Destruction of Individuals
I - Types of power
Conclusion
The Hidden Card
Image
B. Manipulation
C. Physical power
Violence
Images:
- Maryland network against domestic violence (diagram power)
- Doctor Macro and A Sharper Focus (movie scenes from 1951 adaptation by Elia Kazan)
- stage pictures from New Repertory Theater and Arizona Theater Company

Text:
- Oxford Dictionary (introduction)
- Book Rags (quotes)
Sources
Object and actors of manipulation
- Blanche / Mitch
- Blanche / Stella
- Stanley / his friends (Mitch included)
- Stanley / Stella
- Blanche:
- Stanley:
- Authority figures: the Doctor and the Nurse during the resolution (scene 11). 1st use physical force, then persuasion.

• Second appearance, Scene 6
• Polka plays increasingly often -->represent Blanche’s loss of innocence. “Polka music sounds, in a minor key faint with distance” + Blanche hears it whenever she panics and loses her grip on reality, = eternal scar
• Rape: Stanley and Blanche alone in the battlefield
• Blanche =pray / Stanley = predator-->Blanche’s mental decay. Rape symbolizes the final destruction of the Old South’s genteel fantasy world, by the cruel but vibrant present.
• Final scene: Moral + Physical ultimate destruction


B. Mental Death
II. The Consequences:
Destruction of individuals
A. Oppression &
Entrapment (G)
B. Mental Death (I)
Fragility, weak position = resort to manipulation
'Hard' character, strong position = uses verbal + physical power
Blanche and Stanley manipulate both Stella and Mitch.
Blanche: Manipulates Stella, hopes to “win” her sister over --> use of pathetic register + Blanche treats Stella as if she were a child, “Answer me!” + Blanche constantly lies about her life, and manipulates everyone around her
Blanche flirts with any men she bumps into (Mitch + Stanley + Young boy…)
Stanley manipulates Mitch as well; uses their friendship to destroy the relationship he has with Blanche. + manipulates Stella --> wants Stella to realise that Blanche is a fake
The Poker night (scene 3)
-> "[
With a shouted oath, he tosses the instrument out of the window
]"
-> "[
There is the sound of a blow. Stella cries out
]"
Verbal power = insults and different tactics to overthrow the “enemy” but also the power of words.
1- Blanche: To attack + get her way (First scenes) --> Sophisticated language
2- To defend herself (Last scenes)
Blanche at first attacks the “enemy” (=Stanley): irony + sarcasm + confusingly rich vocabulary + indirect insults + flirting techniques = Fight for territory.
Stanley: Uses words to lower Blanche’s self-esteem + to chase her away and mark his territory + resorts to his manliness and his authority to shape the way he confronts Blanche, and even Stella and his friends
How does this picture illustrate the theme of Power, violence and manipulation?
Blanche is trapped under the light, the truth (scene 9)
-> "[she cries out and covers her face]"
Stanley hunts down and traps Blanche (scene 10)
-> prey "[She turns confusedly and makes a faint gesture. The inhuman jungle voices rise up]"
-> "[Blanche moves backward through the door into the bedroom]"
-> "[She smashes a bottle]"
Stella is caught between her sister's manipulation and her husband's persuasive brutality;
-> newborn baby = no choice but Stanley "I couldn't believe her story and go on living with Stanley" trapped in her marriage and illusions
-> trapped in a cycle of violence echo (scene 5) with Steve and Eunice
Storytelling: the wedding night (scene 4)
-> "He smashed all the light-bubs with the heel of my slipper! [
She laughs
]" Stella to Blanche, thrilled
Stanley empowers himself (scene 8)
-> "I am the king around here, so don't forget it! [
He hurls a cup and saucer to the floor
]"
Rape (scene 10) : climax of violence
Struggle with the Matron (scene 11)
-> "[
Blanche turns wildly and scratches at the Matron. The heavy woman pinions her arms. Blanche cries out hoarsely and slips to her knees
]"
What did you learn today?
Allan’s death: guilt, nostalgia, haunted -->triggered her mental decline/ death
• ‘Varsouviana’ : Scene One, “The music of the polka rises up, faint in the distance”
• Plays whenever Blanche is feeling remorse for Allen’s death.
Thesis:
Several types of power can be used to overthrow and destroy one's enemy.
Full transcript