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Stanley is an obsessive, controlling, and typical dominant man. He exercises complete control and power over the women in his life because he views himself as the alpha male. He questions their every doing and reacts to unwanted situations with violent and animalistic behavior. If Stella or Blanche talk badly of him, such as when Blanche accounted his lack of manners and improper conduct for the fact that he is a "survivor of the stone age", he becomes completely consumed with anger. He is determined to live a life where he can be as crude and domineer as he pleases, while Stella, or any woman for that matter, is weak and fragile. He is a strong believer that men have privileges over women, and he proves he plans to keep that upper-hand, through his subjugation of Stella and Blache.
"survivor of the stone age! Bearing the raw meat home from the kill in the jungle; and you — you here — waiting for him."
This first scene is petentent to Tennesee William's statement on gender roles, during this time, because he is showing how old-fashioned it is. This book takes place in 1947, but Blanche's character is making a comparison between Stanley's treatment of Stella and how cave men treated their women. This shows that even in a relatively modern day society women still get treated the same and have made little to no progress on their role versus the role of men. They are still viewed as weak homebody's that wait around for their men to boss them around. This quote is a direct representation of the patriarchy in Stella and Stanley’s relationship because Stella had a seemingly respectable upbringing, yet she allows Stanley to completely disrespect her by doing as he pleases, which is the complete opposite of how Stella was treated growing up. She clearly has been silenced by Stanley’s arrogance and pride because Stanley views himself as the superior alpha male. He speaks and treats Stella as though she is an untrustworthy child he must discipline.
“Set down! I've got th' dope on your big sister, Stella.”
The way Stanley storms into the house and demands Stella’s attention by yelling “Set down! I've got th' dope on your big sister, Stella.” shows the lack of recognition or respect he has for Stella’s, or better yet any woman’s, time. He is a controlling man that wants the people around him to follow his rules and see him as superior. He went to all these lengths to get the dirt on Blanche because he cannot stand her calling him “vulgar” and “common”. This brings to light the difference between Stella and Blanche because Stanley gets so agitated and bothered with Blanche because she challenges him and treats him the way he treats others, with no respect, but Stella acts as a mat with Stanley and lets him walk all over her, wiping his dirt and vulgarity all over her. Blanche’s confident remarks to Stanley are rubbing off on Stella. She claims he’s "too busy making a pig of himself". Following this, Stanley explodes with anger at Stella. This makes him want to get rid of her even more because the she’s threatening his marriage now by changing Stella into something he cannot completely control. Blanche is destroying Stanley and Stella’s marriage which shows how fragile and broken it was to begin with because Blanche has easily come in and effected it so quickly. Stanley is such a controlling person that he lets every little thing he doesn’t like to affect him. He lets Blanche’s remarks get to him which is ironic because he wants so badly to get rid of the threat to his marriage, Blanche. However, he is ultimately responsible for his crumbling marriage.
The society that Tennesee Williams paints is one where men have certain privileges over women and women have to fight for their basic rights. There is an ongoing conflict between the dominant characters that want power. Stanley is the typical sexist and demeaning man that is violent towards his wife and questions anything that comes out of her mouth and any other women's mouth. He makes Stella out to be a weak and fragile woman that lets Stanley walk over and disregard. She lives a life where she is treated like a child. Tennessee Williams is clearly trying to make a statement on how little gender roles have come in such a long amount of time.
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