Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire

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The play A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams, manipulates the ideas of Men and women’s roles in society as well as the unmaintained sexual desire between the two. During the era of the 1950’s, marriage was between a man and woman and vows were seldom broken. Gender roles were for the most part set in stone. The women would cook dinner, watch the kids, and clean the house. Men of the 1950’s would go to work and work all day to put the food on the table. Men genuinely were the head of the household controlling most of the “say so.” Throughout the 1950’s gender roles came to a halt and drafted in an alternate direction. With quick rise of World War II, gender roles during the 1950’s changed drastically due to men being drafted to war in large numbers and shipped over seas, leaving the women in charge. Many experts began to believe that “instead of toughening men war had made them passive, fearful, and effeminate.” (Miriam, 58) Women began to pick up the slack men left behind in order to generate the country as it already was. The play confirms this idea of gender roles, as it is highlighted throughout the play to give a genuine 1950’s feel. As Stanley goes to work, Stella holds down the fort as the housekeeper. Stanley even lays a hand on Stella with no consequence. Unmaintained sexual desire runs rampant, Stanley rapes the sister of Stella in the play. Both men and women and men are responsible for the decline of morals previously known. Ultimately Tennessee Williams created a threshold of learning opportunity on a 1950s marriage. But could contemporary society be engendered by the large changing gender roles of the 1950’s? Men and women’s roles and actions are surely to blame for the change of an era. ... ... middle of paper ... ...y of how things may have changed life, as we know it. Works Cited Cuordileone, K. A. Manhood and American Political Culture in the Cold War. New York: Routledge, 2005. Print. Martschukat, Jurgen. "Men in Gray Flannel Suits." Troubling Masculinities in 1950s America 32 (2011): 1. Gender Watch. Web. 30 Apr. 2014. . May, Elaine Tyler. Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era. 20th ed. New York: Basic Bks, 1988. Print. Price, Jane Ashurst, and Pamela Hall Zaida. Understanding Women in Distess. Florence KY: Routledge, 1989. Print. Reumann, Miriam G. American Sexual Character: Sex, Gender, and National Identity in the Kinsey Reports. Ewing, NJ: U of California P, 2005. Print. Williams, Tennessee. A Street Car Named Desire. Sewanee Tennessee: U of The South, 1947. Print.
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