A Streetcar in Desire

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  • Introduction to the Character: Stanley Kowalski
  • First Gender Commentary 
  • Stanley: Don't ever talk that way to me! "Pig--Polack--disgusting--vulgar--greasy!"--them kinds of words have been on your tongue ever 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!
  • Stella: Your face and fingers are disgustingly greasy. Go wash up and then help me clear the table. 
  • Problems arise when Blanche shows up with her elitist notions and criticism of Stanley. Now instead of feeling like the "king" of the house, he worries that Stella's attitude toward him has changed. Stella starts ordering him around in scene eight and telling him to clean up the table after dinner and stop eating so messily. According to the structure of their usual relationship, Stella is trespassing into his territory he's the dominant one; she shouldn't be ordering him around. When Stanley feels like he's being mistreated, he becomes aggressive, throwing things and breaking dishes. This is obviously not a flexible guy who can handle having his routine changed, but you can still get where he's coming from.
  • Explanation First Gender Commentary  
  • Stanley who is down to earth family man to his wife and child. He's loyal to his friends and passionate to his wife Stella. He's a man of habit and structure, and his desires in life are quite simple: he enjoys maintaining stereotypical gender roles in his home, with himself as the respected head of the household, he likes spending time with his male friends, and his sexual relationship with his wife. Quickly we gain a picture of him being aggressive, dominant, and sexual throughout the play.  
  • Second Gender Commentary 
  • Stanley! where are you going? Can I come watch? I'll be over soon.
  • Meat! Bowling! Come on.
  • Let's start with the gender roles in the Kowalski household. Stanley sees himself as the provider and head of the household He sees Stella's role as a homemaker, who stays at home, cooks his meals, and generally takes care of him. As such, he also expects Stella to respect him. We only get one window into the Kowalskis' relationship before Blanche shows up, so we have to assume that their first interaction in Scene One is a good example of their relationship. From Scene One, Stella and Stanley seem pretty happy with each other, and also content in their gender roles. 
  • Stanley has always been the dominate male in the household. When Stella tells Stanley what to do in the house he builds up anger inside him which causes Stella and Stanley to argue about how Stanley feels threatened by the woman in the household. 
  • Explanation Second Gender Commentary  
  • By: Jasmine Jan 7th period
  • Synthesis
  • In the play A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams portrays Stanley Kowalski character and his actions through the role of him acting superior to Stella and Blanche. Unlike Blanche, whose past we learn about to some extent, we really don't have much back-story on Stanley, so we're left to learn about him from his actions during the present instead of finding out how he's grown and changed over time. Quickly we gain a picture of him as aggressive, dominant, and very sexual. Blanche doesn't respect him as the head of the house, and she's trying to turn his wife against him. She acts like a tyrant queen instead of a thankful guest with nowhere else to stay. She's a bit of a house guest from hell. She considers his home a dump, she criticizes him personally and calls him an ape, insinuates that he is completely uncultured, is racist and classist against him, acts like he doesn't love his wife, drinks a ton of his alcohol and lies about it, hogs the bathroom, and tries to get his wife to leave him repeatedly. Another structured, routine aspect of Stanley's life is the time he spends with his male friends. He's used to having poker nights and going bowling with his buddies. But when Blanche shows up, she interferes with this aspect of his life as well. She tries to get his friends' attention while they're playing poker, and flirts with Mitch. She turns on her music when Stanley just wants to focus on his hand of cards. 
  • You can see this when Stanley hurls a pack of meat up to his wife. He's providing the day's dinner, and she laughs at his gruff antics, happy to make their meal and watch him go bowling with his friends.
  • Ap Lit Mrs. Degroodt
  • All of this drives him nuts until he tosses the radio out the window and hits his wife. Stanley sees his sexual relationship with his wife to be one of the most important aspects of their marriage. Although Stella and Stanley fight, their physical relationship is the way that they make up and forgive each other. Stella herself realizes that their sex life helps them smooth out their marriage.
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