Essay on Exposing the Truth in A Streetcar Named Desire

Essay on Exposing the Truth in A Streetcar Named Desire

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Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire is a play that needs no introduction. This complex piece of drama is most readily associated with Marlon Brando’s iconic portrayal of Stanley Kowalski’s lamenting cry in the streets of New Orleans. Stanley screams STELL-LAHHHHH!, and his “heavenly-splitting violent” cry only emphasizes the voicelessness of the female characters (Williams 2322). Despite Blanche’s ability to hold her own in verbal sparring matches or Stella’s lively demeanor, both women are oppressively held under the thumbs of various men.
Nancy Tischler picks up on these forces that lend themselves to a feminist critical approach. Running through the Tyson’s feminist checklist, it would seem like a feminist lens would clarify the actions of the play. Overbearing presence of patriarchy? Check. Societally constructed gender roles? Check. Strong seeded sexism? Check. Objectifying women? Oh, yeah. However, as Tischler begins to maneuver her way through the text, the meaning becomes more confusing, less convincing, and “enormously complicated” (54). Streetcar is a woman’s story that features problems that are distinctly female, and the submission reflected in Stella’s final decision is in accord with the demands on women across human history (Tischler 54).
The complication comes into play when considering Williams’ personal view of the female characters he drew. Williams saw Blanche, the tragic hero, as a liberated woman, in the sense that her decision to live so freely was considered courageous at the time (Tischler 56). However, it seems that Tischler takes this opinion and stretches it beyond the clearly stated meaning to the point that it skews her criticism.
Tischler proclaims Blanche and Stella to be “some of the fin...


... middle of paper ...


...iences don’t want realism or the truth. Ultimately, everyone seeks some kind of magic or truth as it ought to be, and not the sad rattle-tap streetcar named reality. And then, Sometimes––––there’s meaning–––so quickly! (Williams 2339).



Works Cited

Costa, Francisco. “There was something different about the boy: Queer Subversion in Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire.” Ege Journal of British and American Studies 23.1-2 (2014) : 76-85. Web. 4 April 2014.
Griffin, Alice. Understanding Tennessee Williams. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, 1995. Print.
Tischler, Nancy M. Student Companion to Tennessee Williams. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2000. Print.
Williams, Tennessee. “A Streetcar Named Desire.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Gen ed. Nina Baym. Shorter 8th ed. New York: Norton, 2013. 2297-2361. Print.

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