Essay on Gender Roles in A Streetcar Named Desire

Essay on Gender Roles in A Streetcar Named Desire

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Within Tennessee Williams's story about love and abuse within marriage and challenging familial ties, there lie three very different characters that all see the world in vastly different ways. These members of a family that operate completely outside of our generation’s norms, are constantly unsure of themselves and their station within the binary not only of their familial unit, but within the gender binary that is established for them to follow. Throughout the story of the strange family, each character goes through a different arch that changes them irrevocably whether it is able to be perceived or not by those around them. The only male, Stanley is initially the macho force in the home who controls everything without question. He has no consequences for his actions against his wife and is never held accountable for treating the people around him poorly; this lasts until Blanche arrives. Blanche is an outwardly demure, but spirited young woman who after experiencing untold misfortune breaks mentally and decides to no longer care what others may think of her. She lives her life lavishly and foolishly by having dalliances with younger or richer men who shower her with gifts and attention to get sex from her all too willing form. Her effect on Stanley is one of temptation and challenge; she continually tries to convince her sister that she is too good for the man and in turn fosters a resentment for her in him. Stella acts as the antithesis of Stanley and Blanche’s extreme personalities. She is innocence and purity where they are the darkness that threatens to overtake her life. Throughout, Stella is a pawn that they both try to use against the other to no real avail as she is determined to make the best choice for herself. In th...


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...la. These are characters that while overly dramatic at times, are relatable because they are not perfect and they don’t struggle with being the perfect wife or machismo husband. Instead they are in constant struggle with their inner demons and desire just to be loved in a way which they deserve without prescribing to society’s norm.

Works Cited
1. Fang, Wei. "Blanche's Destruction: Feminist Analysis on A Streetcar Named Desire." Canadian
Social Science 4.3 (2008): 102-8. ProQuest. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.
2. Hooti, Noorbakhsh. "Quest for Identity in Tennessee Williams "the Streetcar Named Desire"."
Studies in Literature and Language 2.3 (2011): 18-29. ProQuest. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.
3. Kolin, Philip C. "”It's Only a Paper Moon": The Paper Ontologies in Tennessee Williams's A
Streetcar Named Desire." Modern Drama 40.4 (1997): 454-67. ProQuest. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.

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