The Clash of Genders in A Streetcar Named Desire

Authors

  • Nicoleta Mariana IFTIMIE "Gheorghe Asachi" Technical University of Iasi, Romania

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18662/po/18

Keywords:

A Streetcar Named Desire, dramatic world, the Southern Belle, sexuality, conflict.

Abstract

The world of Tennessee Williams includes a wide range of complex and diverse characters, pointing to the complexity of human nature: Tom, Amanda and Laura in “The Glass Menagerie”, Maggie and Brick in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, Maxine and Shannon in “The Night of the Iguana”, Chance and Alexandra in “Sweet Bird of Youth”, Val Xavier in “Battle of Angels” and “Orpheus Descending”, Alma in “Summer and Smoke”. The dramatic world of the Elysian Fields, the place where the action of the play “A Streetcar Named Desire” is located, is populated by an equal number of female and male characters. The female figures present in the play are Blanche du Bois, her sister Stella, Eunice (Stella‟s friend and neighbour), the matron, an AfroAmerican woman, a Hispanic woman selling flowers. The gallery of male characters includes Stanley (Stella‟s husband), Steve, Mitch and Pablo (Stanley‟s friends and poker companions), the doctor and a young man. There is a very good balance as far as the importance attached to masculine and feminine characters is concerned: there are two protagonists, Blanche and Stanley, followed by Stella and Mitch, the characters that come after them in order of importance. The play witnesses the clash between femininity and masculinity apparent in the relationship of the most important characters: Blanche and Stanley, Stella and Stanley, Blanche and Mitch. The article will analyze the relationships between these characters as representatives of femininity and masculinity and the changes that may be perceived in their relationships in the unfolding of the action.

References

Foster, V. (2007). Desire, Death and Laughter: Tragicomic Dramaturgy in “A Streetcar Named Desire”. In H. Bloom (Ed.), Bloom’s Modern Critical Views: Tennessee Williams (pp.111-121) New York: Infobase Publishing.

Hovis, G. (2007). “Fifty Percent Illusion”: The Mask of the Southern Belle in Tennessee Williams‟s “A Streetcar Named Desire”, “The Glass Menagerie” and “Portrait of a Madonna”. In H. Bloom (Ed.), Bloom’s Modern Critical Views: Tennessee Williams (pp.171-185) New York: Infobase Publishing.

Iftimie, N.M. (2017). The ambivalent nature of Blanche‟s roles in A Streetcar Named Desire. Buletinul Institutului Politehnic din Iasi, sectia stiinte socio-umane, 63(2), 27- 34.

Tyrell, S.E. (2013). Tennessee Williams’ “plastic theatre”: an examination of contradiction. PhD thesis. Keele University. Retrieved from http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/3826/1/Tyrrell%20PhD%202013.pdf.

Williams, T. (1974). A streetcar named desire. London: Penguin Books.

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Published

2018-07-05

How to Cite

IFTIMIE, N. M. (2018). The Clash of Genders in A Streetcar Named Desire. Postmodern Openings, 9(2), 70-78. https://doi.org/10.18662/po/18

Issue

Section

Theoretical articles

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