A Streetcar named Desire

A Streetcar named Desire

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  • How does playwright Tennessee Williams use the character's actions, descriptions, or words to make a strong statement about gender in our society? Stella Kowalski is a stereotypical housewife of the 1940's. She is submissive, passive, obedient, and loving. While she does have moments where she attempts to show dominant traits, she always ends up obeying either her husband's or her sister's commands.
  • One of the first key moments of Stella's gender role is when Stanley hits Stella in scene three. Stella tries to stand up for herself by tell Stanley "You lay your hands on me and I'll..." , but Stanley still advances and hits her.
  • This moment shows that Stanley doesn't respect her because of her role as a woman, and since she is the typical submissive housewife, she doesn't do anything to stop Stanley. This submissive quality in Stella strongly proves the traditional gender roles for women, like not being able to have a voice in anything towards her husband.
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