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Prompt: How does playwright Tennessee Williams use the character's actions, description or words to make a strong statement about gender in our society?
"Pig – Polack – disgusting – vulgar – greasy!" – them kind of words have been on your tongue and your sister’s too much around here! What do you think you two are? A pair of queens? Remember what Huey Long said – "Every Man is a King!" And I am the King around here, so don’t forget it!
Character: Stanley Kowalski Husband of Stella Kowalski, known to be very dominant and quick to anger. At times, he can even be violent. He does not have the best morals either. He is described by Blanche as a man with, "Animal force" and the only way to live with him is "to bed him".
Don't holler at me like that. Hi, Mitch.
In this key moment, Stanley arrives home to his loving wife for the sole purpose of throwing meat at her to cook for dinner. He completely ignores her request not to yell and continues to do so. Although Stella would like to spend time with him, Stanley would rather her stay and cook his dinner. This represents the boundaries placed on Females in society that, when crossed often lead to backlash and shaming. Williams is saying that these stereotypes are perpetuated and originate from the desires of men.
In this key moment, Stella has gained unprecedented boldness from the presence of her sister. Stanley becomes fed up with her attempts to assert an equal ground in the relationship and snaps. This represents the dominance that has always come with Masculinity, although not naturally. Men have used their physical prowess over women to keep them in line and restrict certain rights- despite women's equality in every other aspect. Williams' uses this to convey the methods that men use to shame women. Just like Stella, women are put down and shamed by men for actions that a man could do and get away with just fine.
Stanley's dominant and controlling actions displayed in both scenes represents overwhelming dominance of Men in all facets of society. But the negative connotations associated with Stanley's words portrays the negative effect this could have on society as well as the negative way it is perceived by some individuals. Williams believes that Women and Men are equal but due to an abundance of dominant and violent men like Stanley, the fear of shame and punishment will slow the tide of change for years to come.
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