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Copy of Feminist Criticism: A Streetcar Named Desire

Ms. Mikailian ENG4U
by

Amanda Chesnut

on 6 October 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Feminist Criticism: A Streetcar Named Desire

Feminisiticism
FEMINIST CRITICISM
fem•i•nism
noun \ˈfe-mə-ˌni-zəm\
Definition of FEMINISM
1
: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
2
: organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests

Feminist theory looks into:
women's social roles and experiences of their lives
the equality between men and women and the access to equal opportunities and rights for all women around the world.
A person who fights for women’s rights and male and female equality is called a feminist.

EXAMPLE OF FEMINISTS ARE:
The Famous Five: Fought to the government concerning whether or not women were included in word “persons” in section 24 of the British North America Act (1867)
- Emily Murphy
- Irene Marryat Parlby
- Nellie Mooney McClung
- Louise Crummy McKinney
- Henrietta Muir Edwards


Feminist criticism
focuses on the stereotypical representations and portrayed images of genders
tracks the history of women writers who have been unrecognized and/ or undervalued.
resultS in earning them rightful recognition in the world of literature
creates a society where women's creative contributions can be fully realized and appreciated

The main intentions of feminist criticism are:
• To unfold and widen the female tradition of writing
• To interpret symbolism of women’s writing so that it will
not be lost or ignored by the male point of view
• To help women's writings retain or gain a significant place even in the world of men
• To consider female writer and their writings from the perspective of a women
• To prevent sexism in literary texts
• To augment alertness regarding sexual politics of language and its approach

Basic methods of feminist criticism include:
Identifying with female characters: This is to test the male-centered mindframe of authors and readers. Feminist criticism proposes that women in literature were historically depicted as objects seen from a male perspective.
Re-evaluating literature and the world in which literature is read: This when literature challenges the reader to think whether society has mainly respected male authors and their literary works because that society is guilty of having more respect for males than it does for females.

A feminist critic does not go with traditional thinking or assumptions while reading. At the same time as challenging ideas that are seen as the norm, feminist criticism supports inclusion of women's knowledge in literature and values women's experiences and tribulations.
BLANCHE IN A FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE

portrayed her problems as distinctly typical “women’s problems” her limitations and strategies are oddly similar to what we call a “powerless woman.”
BLANCHE'S CHARACTER IN A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE
“mothlike, sensitive, and fragile in a way that is ultimately self-destructive.”
a romantic idealist whose behavior is to adorn herself with jewelry and perfumes in order to make herself attractive to the opposite sex
her southern version of puritanism contributed to her husband’s suicide
her inability to comprehend her guilt probably led her into overtly flirting with men and maintaining an active search for a permanent mate
MEN IN BLANCHE'S LIFE
her passionate love for Allan, her elopement with him, her hideous discovery of his affair with another man, her equally passionate disgust for his devotion, and her shock at his violent response became the central plot of her life
she lived it over and over and most of her behavior resulted from these cluster of events.
with exclusive focus on young lovers, even as she grew older, indicates that she is a prisoner of her memories
these young lovers allow her to relive her past with Allan, the man she had loved in her teenage years
highlights that women depend on men for their identity and if without a male partner women are frowned upon by society
her search to fill Allan's void shows the readers that a woman cannot be whole unless she has a man


through the framework of feminist criticism the author is asking the reader to question whether or not a woman can or cannot be a fulfilled person with or without a man
GENDER INEQUALITY
Tennessee Williams portrays Blanche as a victim and a loser
apart in the play that shows that men have more power and dominance over women is when Stanley raped Blanche
gender inequality is both the cause and the result of rape
this is because men who believe that women exist in order to serve male desires, the sex act is frequently enjoyed as the act of domination
Stanley at this part of the play feels that he cannot dominate her intellectually, due to the truth that lies behind Belle Reve, so Stanley, as a great man figure, controlled Blanche the only way he knows how, with sexual aggression
rape is a characterization of male dominance, a high degree of general violence, and an ideology of male toughness, and this is shown through the “common,” animal-like Stanley
at the end of the play, Blanche is characterized as “mad,” this so being of the after effect of what she has gone through after rape.
Some people view females that are victims of sexual violence more likely than men to be labeled “mad,” because of the after affect of specific judgments of depression, abuse of alcohol, anxiety, and/or different types of syndromes – all of which Blanche displays in one form or another.
WHY IS IT THAT IT IS USUALLY THE MALE WHO RAPES?
WHY IS IT THAT THERE IS A LOUDER "SHOCK VALUE" IF IT IS A WOMAN WHO RAPES?
WHO DO YOU THINK WAS AT FAULT FOR BLANCHE'S RAPE ?
DO YOU THINK BLANCHE HAD IT COMING BECAUSE OF FLIRTING AND CURRENT/PAST BEHAVIOURS?

SOCIETY'S ROLE
Stanley’s word is regarded as more valid than Blanche’s in society
Stanley believes that he did not commit rape, and because society legitimates his views and does not convict him, he is correct in the eyes of society
that he did not commit an act of sexual violence
the fault is blamed at Blanche because she has flirted with Stanley, engaged him in verbal combat, and challenged his authority, so in this play, Blanche is the one at fault
She retreats into her world of illusions when Stanley confronts her with the truth of her past, and because she is proven wrong over those facts, no one believes her new story regarding the rape
This follows society once again, confining the “other” so not to contaminate the status quo
An example of not “contaminating the status quo” is proven at the end, when Blanche’s own sister, Stella takes the advice of Eunice, “Don’t ever believe it. Life has got to go on. No matter what happens, you’ve got to keep on going.”
This proves that the society portrays men as a more powerful figure, whom who is always right and the women living in that society are so used to the domination of men, that they are blinded to see the truth.

FOCUSING ON STELLA
MASCULINITY BEING SEEN AS THE MORE STABLE GENDER
Even after Stanley’s rape of Blanche Stella refuses to believe her husband is capable of something so horrendous. However she stays with him not only because of her love for him but for the stability of her life as well as her baby’s.

Fits into feminist criticism because:
It magnifies how women are incapable of doing the necessary work to survive
Says women are incompetent and dependent
Her inability to leave her abusive, rapist husband shows her weakness as an individual morally
Her inability to leave also shows her that she identifies herself as the wife, who stands by her husband and nothing else
She stays with him because of her child and she feels in their society a family cannot be whole unless the man is present

By outlining these qualities of a woman the author is trying to show what feminism is against. From a feminist perspective a woman is just as capable as a man at making a living for themselves and for their family. In a feminist point of view abuse from any gender should not be tolerated. It also supports women as family heads and capable of giving a child the environment they need to grow and learn.

GENDER INEQUALITY IN THE HOUSEHOLD
When Stella comes home from a night out with Blanche and asks the men to wrap up their game Stanley simply ignores her request. This shows the inequality in the household. Although they’re married it ultimately is a house ran by Stanley. His rules his conditions. In a feminist point of view a marriage is a union between a man and a woman where they take care of one another, listen to one another and consults each other in all decisions concerning their marriage. For Stanley to not even consider her request to end the game shows that he gets the last say in everything.

EXAMPLE OF FEMINISM IN NOVELS
The Handmaid’s Tail – Margaret Atwood

Political hierarchy revolves around the goal of being in control of reproduction
Women were not allowed to vote, own property , have jobs , read (being independent)
Women were treated as subhuman , just useful for producing babies

The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Tom Buchanan
• dominant male role
• in control of Daisy
• violent towards women ( Myrtle Wilson )
• angry when he finds out about Daisy and Gatsby , but he sees its all right for him

Daisy Buchanan
• careless person
• makes up for it with her money
• in love with money , material happiness
• lets Gatsby take the blame for the death of Myrtle
• she ends up with Tom

Myrtle Wilson
• treated as an object for Tom’s pleasure
• after being hit by Tom , she still wants him

DOMESTIC ABUSE
In the scene when Stanley inflicts domestic abuse is when feminism is grossly highlighted. Stanley uses his irritation of Blanche and his drunkenness to excuse his behaviour. Stella excuses his abuse because it has become the normal in their household. In this society abuse is reoccurring and common. In a feminist point of view abuse should not take place on either side of the party. By showing this abuse the author brings to attention the very serious matter that men use masculinity to belittle women and when they cannot do it with words and commands they use brute force and violence to get what they want done.

These example fits into feminist criticism because:
• It magnifies how women are incapable of doing the necessary work to survive
• Says women are incompetent and dependent
• Her inability to leave her abusive, rapist husband shows her weakness as an individual morally
• Her inability to leave also shows her that she identifies herself as the wife, who stands by her husband and nothing else
• She stays with him because of her child and she feels in their society a family cannot be whole unless the man is present

By outlining these qualities of a woman the author is trying to show what feminism is against. From a feminist perspective a woman is just as capable as a man at making a living for themselves and for their family. In a feminist point of view abuse from any gender should not be tolerated. It also supports women as family heads and capable of giving a child the environment they need to grow and learn.
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