Streetcar Named Desire Storyboard
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How does playwright Tennessee Williams use the characters actions, description, or words to make a strong statement about gender in our society?
Stanley is a "common" man from New Orleans, whose "center of his life has been pleasure with women." He is roughly "5"8 or 5"9", and cares only for himself. Stanley treats women with little respect and "sizes women up with a glance."
"...Don't ever talk to me that way!...Remember what Huey Long said - "Every man is a king" and I'm the King around here, so don't forget it!"
"Your face and your fingers are disgustingly greasy. Go wash up and then help me clear the table."
Scene 8, pg. 107
In this scene, Blanche, Stanley and Stella are all having dinner, when Stella points out how Stanley is a messy eater. Stanley gets angry with Stella because she makes negative remarks towards him that make him feel insecure and ganged up on. To retaliate, Stanley yells at Stella and reminds her he is the "King" of their house, just as all men should be. William's uses Stella's actions in this scene to reveal Stanley's true opinion on women's roles in the home. Stanley's entitlement displays the gender roles in society as he feels he has the right to be treated as superior to Stella and Blanche simply because he is a man.
"Oh! So you want some rough house! All right, lets have some rough house!"
"So I could twist the broken end into your face!"
"What did you do that for?"
Scene 10, pg. 130
In this scene of the play, Stanley becomes violent with Blanche while Stella is in labor. After having some drinks, Stanley comes home to an also drunk Blanche. After the two get in an argument, they become physical. Stanley blocks Blanche from leaving and after she attempts to hit him with a bottle he grabs her and begins raping her. Stanley does not desire Blanche in a sexual way, but sees this act as a way to establish that he is the leading man of the family and she is just a woman. By raping Blanche, he feels he is showing the ultimate form of dominance as she is helpless and he is in control. Stanleys actions and his reasoning behind it convey the views of many in our society that women are merely props made to serve and tend to men.
In these two scenes from "A Streetcar Named Desire" by Tennessee Williams, we see the gender gap between male and female roles in society through the actions of Stanley Kowalski. Stanley exhibits both physical and verbal abuse towards women, yet is not criticized or punished for either simply because he is a man. The lack of respect he has for women displays an ongoing conflict in society as many women feel they are unjustly treated in comparison to men. His superiority complex and entitled behavior defends the ongoing theme that Women are not equal to Men, and the allowance of this behavior shows that society has come to accept this fact, and feels here is no point in taking action.
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