Explore Williams’ Presentation Of The Conflict Between Blanche And Stanley So Far. School Lit Essay

1440 words - 6 pages

‘A streetcar named Desire is a play concerned with the conflict between the old world and the new.’ In light of this comment, explore Williams’ presentation of the conflict between Blanche and Stanley so far. In your answer, you must consider relevant contextual factors.
In ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’, Williams has crafted characters to transcend the limits of their literal expression by having each individual identify with key themes such as domestic violence, the role of women and toxic masculinity. This allows conflicts between characters to have an alternate allegorical depth such as the role of women versus male oppression.
Beginning with this idea of women questioning their role against stereotypes, Williams attempted to show both sides of women in postbellum America; the independent and the reliant. Contextually, this conversation was a very prominent issue in society at the time as the surplus repression from the war, where women had taken on labour jobs that were normally reserved for men, caused tension between the sexes and also ‘male castration oppression’. An example of where the reader can observe the different ‘type’ of a woman during the post world war setting of 1947; would be the difference from Blanche and Stella. Blanche is portrayed through her own words as independent and taking care of herself - as different as this is from the truth it shows that at the time women were challenging the idea that a woman was restricted to being a housewife. The contrast here is that Stella is shown by Williams as a stereotypical housewife, in her lines she is even given directions to show how she is so admirable of Stanley as though they weren’t equal opportunists. ‘STELLA [Half to Herself]: I can hardly stand it when he is away for a night…’ The effect here is that it may suggest that without him she can’t survive on her own two feet and that she still lives in the world prior to the war- reluctant to accept her new world opportunity. The idea that Blanche foils Stella is important as it allows Williams to discuss on stage the old worldview on women vs the new, if we consider that Williams said in an interview that, ‘I am Blanche’ then we can make some judgements on what his viewpoints are. In a conversation between Blanche and Stella during scene four, Stella attempts to justify the violence that Stanley had shown in the poker scene, to which Blanche replies, ‘And you - you let him? Didn’t run, didn’t scream?’. This quote is very powerful as it may be a personal input from Williams saying, you were in a position of power over him, as the infantilization of ‘he’s really very, very ashamed of himself’ yet allowed herself to succumb to forgiveness when it really should be him forgiving. Stella is shown as tolerant of toxic masculinity whereas Blanche is shown as finding it quite repulsive and during her dialogue with Stanley, will often stand up for herself- the allegorical message here being that to take control of your own destiny you must...

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