A Streetcar Named Desire

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A Streetcar Named Desire Project AP English Literature

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  • "He is of medium height, about five feet eight or nine, and strongly, compactly built. Animal joy in his being is implicit in all his movements and attitudes. Since earliest manhood the center of his life has been pleasure with women, the giving and taking of it, not with weak indulgence, dependency, but with the power and pride of a richly feathered male bird among hens." Scene 1, Page 21
  • How does playwright Tennessee Williams use the character’s actions, description, or words to make a strong statement about gender in our society?
  • "You see, under the Napoleonic code--a man has to take an interest in his wife's affairs--especially now that she's going to have a baby." Scene 2, Page 39
  • In this key moment, Stanley believes that since it is HIS household, and HIS wife’s affairs, that he should know everything there is to know about the subject, quoting the Napoleonic Code of Louisiana. Williams uses Stanley’s words and actions to portray his patriarchal way of thinking by which a woman can not keep secrets or have her own business without her husband knowing everything about it.
  • "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!" Scene 8, Page 116
  • In this key moment, Stanley sees Stella and Blanche as two conceited women who don't know their place in HIS household. He tries to set them in place by being aggressive and reminding them who is in charge. Williams uses Stanley's actions in order to portray that Stanley sees himself as the ruler of the home since he is the MAN and no matter who is there or what day it is that should be respected by everyone
  • Tennessee Williams uses the character's actions, description, and words to show how a stereotypical man in a patriarchal society will do anything to keep his power over women and maintain the "traditional" hierarchy that has existed for centuries. This is like life because society, throughout the centuries, has stayed relatively the same. A patriarchal society that doesn't let women have the same power as their male counterparts, despite the efforts of women to change this, women are still not held at the same level as men in society, they are always suppressed in some way or another.
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