Streetcar

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  • Stanley Kowalski is a born brute. He embodies everything masculine, his "medium height" and compact build. He is "animal...in all his movements and attitudes" (Williams 29) accentuating his stereotypical masculinity. Stanley functions on a few instincts, the instinct to survive, the instinct to breed, and th instinct to protect what is his and assert his dominance. Stanley functions as the leader of the wolf pack, he believes in his superiority.
  • Stanley
  • STELLA! STELL-LAHHHH! (Williams 60)
  • This moment is gender commentary because it highlights the relationship not only between Stella and Stanley, but also an existing relationship between man and woman. Furthermore it emphasizes Stanley's role in the play and his character in society. Stanley flexes his pure physical strength over Stella when he hits her, and although she initially runs from him she eventually is drawn back to him out of instinct and they re-unite in "animal moans". (Williams 60) Williams emphasizes the animal like actions of Stanley, he is "sub-human" in his behavior, he "acts like an animal" (Williams 72). Stanley's animal like actions express his superiority rooted in his gender. Stanley holds no real authority other than what he perceives as superiority, his sex. Sex is the main relationship between Stella and Stanley, it keeps their marriage together. Through this scene Williams expresses that men's perceived superiority is rooted in barbaric traditions centered around an outdated practice; that men can beckon for a woman and she will run to him. When Stella does run to Stanley Williams emphasizes that Stanley is not superior, he merely uses sex to feel some sort of dominance.
  • "He picks up her inert figure and carries her to the bed." (Williams 254)
  • This key moment is gender commentary for it further explains Stanley's perceived superiority and how it is rooted in animal like actions. Stanley blatantly rapes Blanche. He knocks her off her throne in order to reassert his dominance as "king" (Williams 107). When Stanley rapes Blanche it clarifies that Stanley uses sex and sheer physical strength to assert his dominance in every situation. When he rapes Blanche it is a final effort to cling to the power he had before she arrived. This scene shows that Stanley doesn't hold any superiority, but merely uses force and particularly sex to break people and their will down. Williams uses this act of aggression by Stanley to emphasize that sex is a tool often used to assert dominance.
  • Tennesse Williams uses Stanley's actions to emphasize his percieved superiority rooted in meaningless sex and force. The two key moments show Stanley using his physical strength and his sexuality to get his way. Throughout history men have held themselves superior to women based on physical strength and the ability to force themselves on women. This is emphasized by Stanley's actions, with Stella his primal call brings her along and he uses sex to make up for his wrong doings. With Blanche he forces and cements his superiority on her when he rapes her. Sex and strength are his tools. Neither equate to authority, both merely ignite fear. Legitimate superiority does not come from fear, but rather respect. You cannot force respect.
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