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What attitudes towards masculinity are offered in A Streetcar Named Desire

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What attitudes towards masculinity are offered in 'A Streetcar Named Desire'? Williams provides the viewer/reader with several different attitudes towards masculinity in A Streetcar Named Desire, to ultimately encourage them to make up their own opinion. The play was set in a time when America was coming out of war and moving away from the traditional values of women dependent on men, and towards female independence. Williams shows the varying levels of masculinity in certain characters, and the effect this has on other characters and situations. The main protagonists are poles apart in almost every aspect; Blanche comes from a posh background and holds traditional values of how women should depend on men, and she is shocked and disgusted by the violence she witnesses between Stanley and Stella. Stanley, on the other hand, is very masculine, and is portrayed by Williams as a working-class brute, animal-like, possessed by a need to always be in control. ...read more.


Despite all his flaws and his violence towards her, Stella always forgives him. Williams gives the play a cyclical structure, where couples break up but then make up almost immediately. Indeed, while Blanche is shocked by Stanley's "animal habits", Stella is "thrilled by it" - 'it' being Stanley's masculine, aggressive nature. She is thrilled by his male dominance. Williams creates this difference in opinion over Stanley to make the reader make up their own opinion of Stanley. The opposite of Stanley, to an extent, is Mitch. All the men are playing poker, all dressed in primary colours (symbolising their collective masculinity), but Mitch is the odd one out; Mitch is prepared to stand up to Stanley, "Kind of on your high horse, aint you?" but he is mocked by the other men for still living with his mother. This is seen as a blow to his masculinity, and Williams uses it to show Mitch's sensitive side. ...read more.


She uses the same technique on both of them but masculine Stanley isn't the least bit interested: "I don't go in for that stuff", whereas Mitch is more willing to bend to her commands: "...you're certainly not an old maid". Blanche looks for comfort from men-she wants 'kindness'. Stella is deeply in love with Stanley, but she is also utterly dependent on him. She says "When he's away for a week I nearly go wild!" Both of them have a 'damsel in distress' air about them, no matter who the man is. This shows how men are still dominant. Williams shows us two different men: Stanley and Mitch, who are essentially the same but with differing levels of masculinity. Williams tries to show us how these differences in masculinity are greeted by the other men, and the women, in this play. For example, Stanley is controlling, commanding and aggressive to his wife in front of his friends, and therefore he commands their respect, whereas Mitch isn't as masculine, and lives with his mother. ?? ?? ?? ?? Husain Ahmed 12AS1 ...read more.

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