Streetcar Named Desire

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  • Throughout Streetcar, Tennessee Williams occasionally has Stanley Kowalski, the main character, lash out and use his masculinity to assert his dominance and illustrate that being a male was the dominate gender.
  • Stanley Kowalski is a character that has many different qualities. He is cruel, passionate, self centered, working class, and believes in male dominance. Throughout the novel he uses sex as a tool to make a statement about being the "king" of the house. He also uses it as a tactic to comfort his wife instead of mentally comfort her. "He kneels beside her and his fingers find the opening of her blouse" (pg. 142) This text shows that Stanley is a passionate man and serves his purpose physically but not emotionally; he thinks as a male he doesn't have feelings or a need to comfort his wife.
  • [Stanley pays no attention to the story but reaches way over the table to spear his for into the remaining chop which he eats with his fingers] pg.107
  • Stanley's actions of eating meat with his hands showed that he barbaric and primitive like a caveman. He does this because he is the man of the house so he believes he is entitled to do whatever he pleases even though it's unnatural. Stanley is the man of the house but such a thing makes him less of a man by acting as if he doesn't know how to act in front of others.
  • "We've had this date with each other from the beginning!" (pg. 130)
  • This scene in the play depicts the desire of Stanley to assure he lets every character know that he is in charge and that he is the male that will say what's what. Stanley rapes his sister-in-law to make it clear that she isn't above him.
  • Stanley's actions of sexually abusing his sister-in-law to show that he is in power and eating meat with his hands as if he was a caveman, all illustrate the male's role in society during the late 1940's. Men were perceived as the dominate gender and the women were suppose to go along with their husbands choices. If they were to say or do something out of character for a women, then men would typically physically discipline her and she would learn her lesson. This play serves its purpose by representing the role men had back then and how differently the gender roles are now. We've become so advanced with how we think that we are now equals in the society and have learned from both genders that we are capable of the same things.
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