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STAN ("the man") KOWALSKI
- "of medium height" - "strongly, compactly built" - "with the power and pride of a richly feathered male bird among hens" - Stella's husband - Loves poker - Aggressive - Has a bad temper
"Since earliest manhood the center of his life has been pleasure with women, the giving and taking of it... He sizes women up at a glance, with sexual classifications, crude images flashing into his mind and determining the way he smiles at them" (Williams PDF).
This quote creates a firm base for Stanley's character by describing his motives for desire and the way he treats women. With a sexual intent behind his thoughts, he places women below men, where they obey his word as if he were a "king." He sees women as his tool for pleasure, expecting them, specifically Stella, to stay at home, cook, and take care of him.
"Don't ever talk that way to me! "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 two think you 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" (Williams PDF)!
Stanley reacts with rage towards Stella to remind her of her place in the household, and in society in general: beneath men. He criticizes her for believing that she has a sense of freedom being married to a man like him. This links to the prompt because he is enforcing the gender roles that were common during this time period.
Playwright Tennessee Williams depicts Stanley Kowalski as a strong, aggressive head of the household, where he sets women and his wife, Stella, under the orders of men. His sexual character reveals his passion for having relationships with women and his condescending attitude. Stanley portrays the idea that society makes women dependent on men, and that men have all the authority in the household. This reflects life by relating to experiences of exercising authority over others and the continuous, but declining discrimination by gender in today's society.
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