Streetcar named Desire

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  • Stella is very caring and calm. She is the mediator between her sister Blanche and husband Stanley. Stella loves Blanche, she felt that "nobody, nobody, was tender and trusting as she was." (Williams, pg.111) but she loved Stanley more. After hearing enough of Blanche's lies she "couldn't believe her story and go on living with Stanley" (Williams,(11.24)) if Stanley raped her. She can be a little naïve but she doesn't hold back her tongue.
  • How does playwright Tennessee Williams use the character's actions, description, or words to make a strong statement about gender in our society?
  • "There are things that happen between a man and a woman in the dark- that sort of make everything else seem- unimportant." (Williams, (Scene 4.103-4))
  • Stella's comment reveals the importance of sex during this time. This is gender commentary because she specifically said man and woman because of the masculinity that men have during sex, especially Stanley. It also reveals the role women play in femininity and dependence on a man during sex. She also says in the dark to give the reader a sense of where it takes place. It reveals the importance and dependence of sex to her because it made 'everything else seem" unimportant. It answers the prompt by emphasizing how much passion is shared between man and woman.
  • "Drunk- drunk- animal thing, you! [......] You lay your hands on me and I'll-" (Williams, (Scene 3.165-8))
  • Stella refers to Stanley as a animal. Men acted like animals when they became drunk, especially Stanley. This is considered gender commentary because Stella is calling Stanley an animal which most men are referred to, such as dogs. This answers the prompt by Stella's words and actions. She Almost threatens Stanley when he almost hits her. This shows how men have more power over their women during this time, by laying their hands on them.
  • This is like life because, many men have power over women. Men like Stanley enjoy that feeling of power, and women like Stella are stuck in these relationships because they are so dependent on men. This reveals the theme of femininity and dependence, dependence on a man. It also reveals the theme of masculinity and power. Stanley's physical appearance and dominance over Stella and his household reveals those themes. Stella's words make a strong statement of how men are viewed in society, as animals, and the love that is shared between both genders.
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