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

The Times, they are a'changin. Views of women in A Streetcar Named Desire, The Female Eunuch and the film Shirley Valentine.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

THE TIMES, THEY ARE A' CHANGIN' (1st draft) Lois Bender was quietly sitting at a caf� one morning, eating a quick breakfast before heading to work. This was before a man came and sat opposite her at the table and asked if she ever got lonely, seeing that she was by herself. Does this relate to you, or even seem right? Probably not. This sort of thing hardly ever happens these days, due to the dramatic change in the role of women. However, it was a common practice in the 1940's and 50's, as women greatly depended on men for nearly everything, and never left the house without them by their side. Bender, an English Studies lecturer from University Sydney, declares "A Streetcar Named Desire", by Tennessee Williams, clearly shows the way women were treated back in the day. According to Bender, it represents the patriarchal concept of a 1940's female as psychologically brittle and ideally inhabiting the decorative role, through the characterization of Blanche Dubois. Blanche captures the idea of fragility and makes much effort to fulfil an aesthetic ideal in her appearance. While the costuming, involving a "white suit with a fluffy bodice," clearly represented in the stage directions, hints to Blanche's obsession with fulfilling the decorative role, the choice of words such as "delicate" and "uncertain", summon the absence of determination and independence. ...read more.

Middle

But it wouldn't be make-believe, if you believed in me." When Mitch confronts Blanche because of Stanley's malicious revelations about her character, Blanche admits her lies are necessary, and that she detests reality and encourages "magic." Because Blanche cannot see around her dependence on men, she has no realistic inception of how to save herself. Blanche does not notice that her dependence on men, will result her destruction and not her redemption. By depending on men, Blanche is placing her destiny in the hands of others. Professor of Cultural Studies, Mamie Grubb, from UNSW, believes "The Female Eunuch" successfully demonstrates the rejection of particular women to the roles they were expected to fulfil during the transitional period, of the 1960s. "It captures the idea that conventional women lack potential and power," Grubb says. Germaine Greer's short speech portrays her repulsion of the conventional gender roles and the socially imposed conceptions of what it meant to be female. Greer uses the term "masquerade" as a metaphor for socially constructive roles, and the repetition, of "I'm sick of...", reinforces a tone of contempt and disgust towards traditional gender expectations. Greer expresses opposing values to those of Blanche Dubois, "I'm sick of pretending eternal youth." ...read more.

Conclusion

This is exemplified through her relationship with Costas, and her ability to separate the pleasure of the moment from any emotional attachment to her partner, "given the amount of time you spend on your brother's boat." The voiceover, "you belong back here," accompanied by a long shot of Shirley on a motorbike, creates a sense of liberation and a suggestion of the expansiveness and broadened horizons of her life now that she has shaken off the shackles of patriarchy, "The only holiday romance I've had is with myself." This quote suggests that she is no longer a male identified woman, and refuses to achieve social significance through her relationship with a man. Shirley Valentine has finally rejected the ancient values of patriarchal society, and has opened her eyes to the wondrous excitement life can bring, if you choose to live it. Ladies? No. We are not the submissive, delicate and irrational race that once upon a time strutted the streets of town. We are women ... we are girls. "It is thanks to people like Germaine Greer, who stood up and exposed the utter disgrace surrounding the patriarchal view of the dominant male, and the dependent, delicate female," Bender says, "My independence doesn't hinder anything I do. I don't need a man to stand by and protect me. I am a contemporary woman, and contemporary women live life." Stephanie Recking ...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 Other Criticism & Comparison 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 Other Criticism & Comparison essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The English Patient

    5 star(s)

    On the whole, Alm�sy is not at all what the other characters think he appears to be. Alm�sy's manner is knowledgeable and reflective. His entire career has consisted of searching for ancient cities and mapping empty land. He thus links the past to the present, writing in the margins of

  2. The Male Suppression of Female Power: Antoinettes Downfall in Wide Sargasso Sea ...

    As the novel progresses and Antoinette falls deeper under Rochester's control she begins to lose her sense of self, similar to the way Rochester does in the beginning of their marriage. To further complicate Antoinette's already unstable identity, Rochester asserts his dominance by renaming her "Bertha".

  1. Women in Dracula, A Street Car Named Desire and Birthday Letters

    In many ways, Lucy is much like Mina Murry. She is a paragon of virtue and innocents, qualities that draw the attention of three men to her. However Lucy does differs from her friend in one key area, which makes her much of a New Women, Lucy is sexualised.

  2. How do Arthur Miller and Tenessee Williams explore the blurring of reality and fantasy ...

    The author originated Joe's crime from a true story; an event which occurred in the Second World War where a manufacturer knowingly shipped out defective parts for tanks, which resulted in the death of many soldiers and the manufacturer becoming convicted, so perhaps the play is based around the morality of a man.

  1. To what extent do the works of Shelley, Carter and Coleridge reinforce traditional masculine ...

    Standing stripped bare to her 'untouched integument of flesh' before a badly disguised carnivore, a wolf in shirt sleeves, she becomes the dominant figure, unbuttoning his collar, placing his 'fearful head on her lap' and picking and consuming the fleas from his fur.

  2. Comparing the Role of Women in Sense and Sensibility and Othello

    Both the sisters have to marry to stay secure financially, since women could not work back then, the women's fate depended on the status of her husband where he stood in society or she depends on male relatives for her status.

  1. aspects of tension in steetcar named desire

    Blanche is dressed in white which is symbolic as the colour white represents purity and innocence. As the drama progresses, the audience will learn that this is ironic as Blanche proves to be the very opposite of this. Blanche wearing white could also be considered a motif within the drama

  2. How do the writers present sexuality and gender in Tales Of Ovid, Streetcar Named ...

    His knowledge about feminine pleasure, that women do, as Jupiter contends ?end up with nine-tenths of the pleasure?, angers Jupiter and his revelation proves damaging as she blinds him. It takes only one man, formerly a woman, to destroy the reassuring view that placed wives beyond the influence of pleasure.

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