• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Attitude to and Treatment of Women in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Extracts from this document...


The Attitude to and Treatment of Women in A Streetcar Named Desire. In A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams has a great deal to say about the r�le of, the function of and the attitude towards women, which tend to reflect not only the thoughts of people in Williams' society, but modern attitudes as well. Blanche and Stella are highly detailed characters, and one can sort Williams' development of them into six categories: their clothes and appearances; their personalities, including their flaws and weaknesses; the language used by the two women and how it differs from that of other characters; the treatment of the two women by the men in the play; their treatment of each other; and finally the conflicts that each of the women gets involved in. The last three categories may be examined as one, since the treatment of the women and their conflicts are almost the same thing. To start with, the most obvious way in which the women are portrayed is their appearance. This is perhaps the most important and effective method, at least early on, of establishing the personalities of characters in a play. Williams certainly seems to believe this: the stage directions for Blanche's entrance are explicit, and several fitting adjectives and adverbs are used: "delicate", "fluffy", and "daintily" are examples. ...read more.


As the play develops, one begins to think that Blanche is not a particularly kind person. She appears to be deceitful: she hides things from her sister, such as her drinking problem. She lies about her age. All of this seems to be for her own sake - to make her image seem better to other people. Her vanity governs her. She says to her sister, "You haven't said a word about my appearance". She is constantly bathing and changing clothes. She dislikes harsh light. Stella also keeps things from her sister. She hides the fact that she is pregnant; but whereas Blanche lies at the expense of her sister (for example, her age), Stella is deceitful for Blanche's sake. She says, "Don't mention the baby" because she wants to wait "until [Blanche] gets in a quieter condition". She even tells Stanley to be deceitful to Blanche ("Be sure to say something nice about her appearance"), because she knows what Blanche wants to hear. Obviously Stella cares for her sister immensely. She complies with her wishes by turning off the lights; she fetches lemon cokes for Blanche whenever she is asked; and when Stanley is talking rather loudly about just how he feels about Blanche, Stella says, frightened: "Hush! She'll hear you!" At the end of the day, Blanche is not like this at all. ...read more.


But it is unlikely that he treats her this way solely because she is a woman: otherwise one would see similar treatment of Stella and Eunice. It is likely that he resents her because she is of a higher class, and that she acts like it. She always pretends to be superior, and this angers Stanley because he knows the truth about her, or at least suspects something. When put this way, one can almost understand what Stanley feels. He hates to see someone in his apartment, deceiving his wife, and arguing with him. There is a constant struggle between Stanley and Blanche, and it is almost like a tournament with several rounds or stages. The "object" that is being fought over is Stella. During these fights, Stanley treats Blanche like a man with the things he says, but both his and her actions are very provocative. Stanley exerts his superiority by shouting loudly and moving close to Blanche, whereas Blanche flirts, doing such things as giggling, calling him names and spraying at him with perfume. This is a good tactic for Blanche, because it angers him more, but he is unsure of how to react. Nevertheless, Stanley always "wins" Stella, and he knows it: his evil grins at Blanche over Stella's shoulder just scream "I've won". But Stanley loves Stella fiercely. Theirs is a love that is passionate and very sexual. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level A Street Car Named Desire section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level A Street Car Named Desire essays

  1. A streetcar named desire - Exploration notes context/structure/language/plot&subplot/visual aural spatial.

    This happens most in particular when the men talk among themselves. This gives a contrast between the poetic language often used by the women. This speech is purely functional and nothing else, it does what it's there to do; communicate.

  2. A Streetcar Named Desire - scenes 2 and 3 reviewed.

    Blanche then asks the question the audience wanted to know, 'Is he married?' She then asks if he is a 'wolf'. This is an animalistic image and it shows her expectation of men. She is looking for protection and he is a possible candidate for that.

  1. What impression of Blanche is created in the first scene of A Streetcar named ...

    Not only does she drink the whiskey uninvited, but she attempts to mask her tracks as well. This is a primary indication that she is an alcoholic as is talking to ones self ("I've got to keep hold of myself").

  2. A Steercar Named Desire - Blanche's Psychological Breakdown.

    people of her new community, nor her physical surroundings in her new home. We can see that she did not fit in with the people of the community by comparing the manner in which women in the story handle their social life with men.

  1. Discuss the triangular relationship and dynamic between Stella, Blanche and Stanley as indicated to ...

    Further on in the scene Stella asks Stanley to leave the room for Blanche to dress but Stanley responds to her, " Since when do you give me orders?" This shows to the audience Stanley is confident and believes men are in control always.

  2. 'Cat on A Hot Tin Roof' and 'A Streetcar Named Desire' are plays in ...

    Williams chose the south for its portrayal of two predominant cultures in conflict. This was the 'old south' that valued the class system, manners and gentility, against the more contemporary world of greed, mendacity, anger, sexual desire and class hatred.

  1. What are your initial impressions of Blanche and Stanley in the first three scenes ...

    She is dressed 'daintily in a white suit with a fluffy bodice', an outfit clearly unsuitable for downtown New Orleans. Our first impressions of Blanche are formed on this initial appearance and the thing most noticeable to the audience is the excessive jewellery she sports and her superfluous dress sense.

  2. What dramatic techniques and devices does Williams deploy in order to depict the different ...

    When Blanche and Stanley first meet there is immediately some tension between the two. Stanley takes his shirt of showing that he his primitive, very animal like. Animal imagery is used to describe Stanley. "Animal joy in his being is implicit in all his movements and attitudes" is how Stanley is described.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work