A Streetcar Named Desire

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  • I've arrived at Stella's home...although I'm not sure if this is really it.
  • Prompt: How does playwright Tennessee Williams use the character's actions, description, or words to make a strong statement about gender in our society?
  • "Blanche! You be still! That's enough!" (Williams, Scene 1, Page 27)
  • "...I let the place go? Where were you? In bed with your- Polack!" (Williams, Scene 1, Page 27)
  • In this scene Blanche is basically blaming Stella for placing the burdensome task of taking care of Belle Reve all on her own. She very bluntly states that because Stella was too busy trying to keep what was in Stanley's pants happy, she completely neglected her family. In short, she reprimanded her for worrying more about pleasing her husband than taking care of the "house" like women were generally supposed to, at the time.
  • Analysis
  • "But you've given in. And that isn't right, you're not old! You can get out." (Williams, Scene 4, Page 65)
  • "I'm not in anything I want to get out of." (Williams, Scene 4, Page 65)
  • Blanche realized that Stanley's brutality isn't just for show; he's actually incredibly violent. By telling Stella she's "not old" so she can still "get out" she's simultaneously being an encouraging sister while proving to be incredibly ageist. In a way she's warning Stella, telling her that once she becomes too old, no man will want her so she won't be able to marry again or, in other words, be able to rely on someone else for a living.
  • Analysis
  • These two scenes clearly portray Blanche as the product of a sexist society. She is hyper aware of her situation however, she doesn't seem to realize her dismally low chances of moving up in the urban patriarchy regardless of how many zeros are attached to her name. Blanche in many ways, more so than Stella, was the victim due to the lack of financial, patriarchal, and emotional support she had. In their society, she was subject to Stanley's brutal, sexist remarks as well as his advances merely because she didn't have another man to declare that she was his property and could therefore not be touched. To this day, gender discrimination begins as soon as the doctor says "It's a girl."
  • Synthesis
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