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Compare and contrast the ways women are presented in both 'Wuthering Heights' and 'A Streetcar Named Desire'

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Compare and contrast the ways women are presented in both 'Wuthering Heights' and 'A Streetcar Named Desire' 'Wuthering Heights' and 'A Streetcar Named Desire' both centre around male and female relationships and the human emotions associated with this. It is therefore not surprising that Bront� and Williams have focused on creating such powerful characterisation within the texts, both have deliberated on painting very strong, vivid female characters and it is interesting to see regardless of the difference in setting, era and circumstances, how the female characters in both texts can be compared. The vulnerability of women is explored in both texts. Both Blanche and Catherine have an almost child-like helplessness which perhaps could be viewed as both the product and the cause of their shared madness. Blanche is introduced to the audience instantly as a vulnerable creature. The stage directions in 'A Streetcar Named Desire' describe her as 'dressed in a white suit with a fluffy bodice, necklace and earrings of pearl, white gloves and hat.' On one hand, this portrays an image of elegance and glamour as she is well dressed, but on the other hand we can also depict from this a sense of fragility which is also reflected in her resemblance to a moth. The colour white has been used symbolically on Blanche to create an image of purity and innocence, something untainted that needs protection. The 'fluffy' texture of her bodice also enhances her sense of softness and her fine jewellery reflects an image of delicacy. Her vulnerability is then further exaggerated by her being 'incongruous to [the] setting' of Elysian Fields. The area is 'poor' and has an 'atmosphere of decay' whereas she is 'looking as if she were arriving at a summer tea or cocktail party in the garden district' showing how clearly out of place she is in this surrounding. This as well as her 'uncertain manner' places her in a position of clear vulnerability in the Quarter from the start. ...read more.


This echoes Catherine's situation in 'Wuthering Heights' where her passion also leads her down a road of destruction and eventually death. Her stubborn pride and determination to get her own way pushes her to extreme lengths. Her inability to control her situation any more causes her to declare, "If I cannot keep Heathcliff for my friend-if Edgar will be mean and jealous, I'll try to break their hearts by breaking my own." She self-consciously jeopardises her health to gain the attention of Edgar and Heathcliff, whose mutual hate for one another shatters Catherine's na�ve ambition. Although both Edgar and Heathcliff do suffer enormously as her health deteriorates, her illness spirals out of control and she dies as a result. In comparison, Blanche also seeks male attention but goes to different lengths to achieve it and uses her sexuality instead. She says, "men don't-don't even admit your existence unless they are making love to you. And you've got to have your existence admitted by someone, if you're going to have someone's protection." Through this we can see that it is her vulnerability and need for protection that drives her towards men yet her skewed perception of what a relationship is forces her to believe that the only way to gain this protection is through having sex with men. Ironically, this is exactly what Blanche needs protecting from. Her promiscuity forced her out of Laurel and still, Blanche cannot break this destructive cycle as she again falls victim to desire in New Orleans. Women are portrayed as flawed individuals to the point where their faults become restrictions, preventing them from happiness. Vanity is potentially the biggest character defect of both Catherine and Blanche. Blanche is obsessed with her appearance, although there is a clear link between her insecurity and this vanity, which is so extreme she even refuses to be seen in the light. From this fear of light we can deduce her self-loathing, a repulsion of who she really is. ...read more.


Because of course if Blanche was telling the truth, this would mean her husband is a rapist and Stella does not want to accept this because then it would mean leaving the security of her life with Stanley. The only alternative she has is to believe Stanley instead and turn her back on her sister resulting in the ultimate betrayal. In a similar way, Heathcliff comes between the sisterly bond of Catherine and Isabella and they turn against one another. Isabella calls Catherine 'a dog in the manger' and Catherine responds "You are an impertinent little monkey." Isabella ignores Catherine's warnings because she does not want to believe that she is right and so, like Stella chooses to end their relationship forever for the sake of her selfishness and runs away with Heathcliff. There is tension between the women in both texts and mistrust amongst each other. Catherine says "Ah! Nelly has played traitor" "Nelly is my hidden enemy and they do not realise that the only way they can break the oppression of society and help one another is by working together. Both texts portray women as complex and flawed creatures; they create their own misery through their inability to be content and the way that they place boundaries between themselves and happiness. Blanche's escapism forces to live a deceptive life where she lies to others and to herself, but it is her tragic desire to be young, to return to a time where she was happy that makes her unable to exist in the world she is in now. Catherine places materialism and social status before what she knows is right when she chooses to marry Edgar Linton, her polar opposite, over Heathcliff her soul mate. Despite this it is essential to note that they are also victims. Their vulnerability causes them to seek refuge elsewhere only to be oppressed by a patriarchal existence that they cannot escape from. The women suffer as a result of this and are unfortunately the product of the society that they live within. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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