Feminism Taken to Extremes in A Streetcar Named Misogyny

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Feminism taken to Extremes in A Streetcar Named Misogyny

As women's studies programs have proliferated throughout American universities, feminist "re-readings" of certain classic authors have provided us with the most nonsensical interpretations of these authors' texts. A case in point is that of Kathleen Margaret Lant's interpretation of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire in her essay entitled "A Streetcar Named Misogyny." Throughout the essay, she continually misreads Williams' intention, which of course causes her to misunderstand the play itself. Claiming that the play "has proved vexing to audiences, directors, actors, readers, and critics" (Lant 227), she fails to see that it is she herself who finds the play vexing, because it does not fit nicely into the warped feminist structure she would try to impose upon it.

Her first problem is with the heroine of the play, Blanche DuBois, who, she claims, is "ironically made guilty for her own victimization. No longer fully human, she is simply a metaphor of all that is vile about women. Blanche cannot, then, claim tragic stature or even our sympathy precisely because she is a victim of rape. And as she becomes responsible for her own victimization, Stanley is left to glory in his ascendancy. This aspect of Streetcar arises from the misogyny which colors the play…" (Lant 226). Admittedly, Blanche does flirt with Stanley briefly at the beginning of the play—just as many women playfully flirt with their brothers-in-law. But as her relationship with Stanley deteriorates, she makes it quite obvious to him that she loathes the sight of him. Though the world in which Lant lives may be one in which a woman, playfully sprinkling her brother-in-law ...

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...rry to scrutinize his work and pass judgment upon it, Lant has failed to comprehend the fact that Williams was merely portraying society as he saw it and as he experienced it, no holds barred.

Works Cited

Brownmiller, Susan. Against Our Will. New York: Bantam Books, 1975.

Dworkin, Andrea. Intercourse. New York: The Free Press, 1087

Lant, Kathleen Margaret. "A Streetcar Named Misogyny." pp. 225-238 in REDMOND.

Redmond, James (Editor). Violence in Drama. Cambridge University Press; 1991.

Spoto, Donald. The Kindness of Strangers. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1985.

Williams, Edwina Dakin. Remember Me to Tom. St. Louis: Sunrise Publishing Company, 1963.

Williams, Tennessee. Memoirs. New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc: 1975.

Williams, Tennessee. A Streetcar Named Desire. New York: Signet. Original copyright 1947.
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