• 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)

    two worlds, walking a fine line between adopting Western customs and losing his national identity. Yet as a character in himself, Kip is complex and elusive. He reacts with warmth to the welcoming embrace of his mentor, Lord Suffolk, but shrugs off Caravaggio's hug as he rides away on his motorcycle at the end of the novel.

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

    marring betraying her race by marrying a man not the same colour as her. Also, since she was the senator's daughter, she was supposed to marry someone from the upper class and with high status, but instead marries a general who is the age of her father and is a different race.

  1. aspects of tension in steetcar named desire

    to others for directions or advice on how to live her life. A streetcar is similar to a tram as it runs in one direction only stopping to allow passengers to board. Unlike a car or a bus, it has a set destination and can not divert.

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

    It is also based over a longer period of time; months in fact. Williams seemed to base his play around the working-class within society and highlights the problems within this group of class; through Blanche Dubois and Stanley Kowalski as oppositions, exploring and defining the severity of the differences when

  1. What underlying tensions in America society are relevant by the confrontation between Stanley and ...

    The scene when Stanley yells at Stella to come back to him and make love, Blanch notices Stanley's wild part and how he uses his aggressive sexuality to get what he wants. Blanche uses sex to seek refuge from destruction, unaware that she is simply causing more disaster in the process.

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

    Du Bois line and a sort of victory for the new Kowalski family. As the Cambridge Companion To Tennessee Williams states ?Theatregoers? did not easily shake off lingering apprehensions that were born of the 1930?s depression and nurtured by the 1945 unleashing of nuclear weapons? in this climate, the loose

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