"Blanche DuBois, in 'A Streetcar Named Desire', is what a critic Ruby Cohn calls Williams' 'masterpiece contradiction'". (Bloom 70) Tennessee Williams is considered to be one of the most renowned playwrights of the twentieth century in American Literary History. As a playwright, he is best known for writing 'A Streetcar Named Desire', 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof', and 'The Glass Menagerie'. Williams' 'A Streetcar Named Desire', focuses on the declining sanity of his central character, Blanche DuBois. While Tennessee Williams considered Blanche DuBois to be a liberated, modern woman, many feminist critics contend that she is just the opposite.
Compared to other authors, Tennessee Williams' personal life and experiences were the inspiration for his plays. He used his past experiences as a way to universalize them through the means of the stage. In this manner, his life is incorporated in each and every piece of his literature. As a youngster, Williams spent most of his childhood growing up in the South, surrounded by its genteel culture. Williams was a rather delicate and sickly child, he was plagued with several childhood diseases, which prevented him attending a regular school. He experienced culture shock at the age of 12 when his family suddenly uprooted him to St. Louis, MO so that his father could work at a shoe factory. After Williams finished high school, he attended the University of Missouri for three years, but dropped out when he failed a class. His father secured a position for him at the shoe factory, where he worked for almost two years Williams worked at the shoe factory during the daytime, and spent his nights writing poems, stories, and plays. During that time p...
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...ed. If she had accepted it, then Blanche potentially could have become a modern woman. However, she continued living her life by engaging in meaningless affairs. This willful submission of her body indicates to the reader that Blanche is desperate for male companionship.
While Tennessee Williams considered Blanche DuBois to be a liberated, modern woman, many feminist critics contend that she is just the opposite. Williams portrays her as a victim who gradually loses her grip on reality. A modern woman, first and foremost views herself as an unique individual. She has the ability to deal with the problems that she faces, without having to rely on others. Blanche's unwillingness to deal with the events that occurred in her life clearly shows that she is anything but a modern woman.
Williams, T. A Streetcar Named Desire. Signet Books, NY: 2008.
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