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The character of Stanley Kowalski in 'A Streetcar Named Desire" is one that respresents the concept of masculinity as well as issues with gender roles and relationships in the 20th century. The character is the husband of Stella, and brother-in-law to Blanche, who is the primary force behind the plot and whose gender based troubles formulate the theme of the play. following prompt: How does playwright Tennessee Williams use the character’s actions, description, or words to make a strong statement about gender in our society?
The first key moment of gender commentary occurs when Stanley is speaking to Blanche and makes reference to liquor. "In Laurel, huh? Oh, yeah. Yeah, in Laurel, that's right. Not in my territory. Liquor goes fast in hot weather."
The mention of liquor in this instance makes reference to the stereotypical abuse of alcohol and rampant alcoholism that occurred among men in the 20th century and continues to occur to this day. This also foreshadows Stanley's abusive nature later on in the story as well as Blanche's turn to alcohol following her failed relationship with her husband/lover.
The second key moment of gender commentary occurs when Stanley snaps at stella for calling him what is in essence a 'greasy Polack'. "Remember what Huey Long said--"Every Man is a King!" And I am the king around here, so don't forget it!"
The mention of Huey Long in this instance, who was by 20th century standards an extremely Progressive politician who believed heavily in the New Deal, seeks to show that widespread prevalence of sexism and misogyny of that era and how women were relegated to simple housewives and servants . In addition, Stanley explicitly states that he is the King and exerts his dominance over Stella for doing something that he wouldn't think twice about.
Tennessee Williams' classic play, A Streetcar Named Desire, exhibits the traditional gender roles prevalent in the 20th century around the world through the words and actions of the character Stanley Kowalski. Trhough multiple key moments, Kowalski exhibits traditional, toxic, and borderline abusive masculinity to Stella and Blanche. One of these key instances is the moment where Stanley mentions and foreshadows the abuse of liquor prevalent among himself and other men in the era. Another of these key moments is when Stanley abusively snaps at Stella for making a simple, rude comment and flings his plate at the wall. Further note can be made of his mention of progressive Huey Long
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