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How does playwright Tennessee Williams use the character’s actions, description, or words to make a strong statement about gender in our society? Stanley Kowalski may as well the the gender roles poster boy. He rules his home with complete dominance over Stella until Blanche arrives, effectively throwing a wrench into his well oiled life.
Meat! [He heaves the package at her. She cries out in protest but manages to catch it; then she laughes breathlessly. Her husband and his companion have already started back around the corner.] (Williams 14)
In the very first scene Stanley's position in the house is made very clear. Stanley is the dominant force in his home, he works and sees his friends. Stella on the other hand is expected to take care of all of his needs. Stella cooks, cleans, and has carnal relations with Stanley to keep him happy. Stanley offers no thanks through out the book because he does not believe Stella has any other option than to obey his command. In this scenes he comes in and chunks a slab of meat, very animal like, at Stella to cook for dinner and leaves to go bowling immediately. He has no respect for Stella simply because she is a woman, she must be subservient in his eyes.
Tiger'-tiger! Drop the bottle topl Drop it! We've had this date with each other from the beginning! (Williams 130)
In this scene Stanley rapes Blanche out of hate, spite, and to finally assert his dominance. Stanley speaks of their date together being unevitable because thats all Stanley really sees in women. In Stella he sees his homemaker, but all others are just pieces of meat for Stanley to contemplate sexually. Stanley could not stand for Blanche's unwillingness to fall under dominance so he does something near unspeakable to her, driving her over the edge into madness.
Tennessee Williams uses Stanley and his actions to highlight a severe gender issue in society to this day. Stanley is not equal to Stella or Blanche, he maks himself dominant by force. He equates sex and fear to power, keeping Stella in line and crushing Blanche with his methods. Men and women cannot learn to respect eavh other though fear and anger, they must learn respect through love and understanding.
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