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We shouldnt be shocked by Stanleys attitude to women and his violent behaviour; he is just a product of his time. In the light of this statement, explore how Williams presents masculinity in A Streetcar Named Desire.

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Introduction

Transfer-Encoding: chunked A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE EXAM PRACTICE ?We shouldn?t be shocked by Stanley?s attitude to women and his violent behaviour; he is just a product of his time.? In the light of this statement, explore how Williams presents masculinity in A Streetcar Named Desire. (Total for Question 17 = 20 marks) The question of whether the reader of A Streetcar Named Desireshould conceive every aspect of behavior exhibited by the key characters as being symbolic of their time is one that has been dogged by controversy. According to some readers, Stanley?s attitude to women and his violent behavior is nothing but a representation of the male values of the 20th Century South American society. However, some readers still argue that Stanley is just an individual, and like any one of us, his actions should be perceived as products of his personal beliefs, values and choices. Simply stated, the answer to this question totally depends on the school of thought from which the reader operates. ...read more.

Middle

Moreover, as Marxist critics would aver, whenever there is a clash between the ?haves? and the ?have-nots?, violence is inevitable. To this extent, therefore, it can rightly be argued that Stanley?s violent behavior could have been truly representative of the pent-up anger that all South American Serfs bore towards their society at the time the play is set. Furthermore, Stanley who is referred to by Williams as an ?ape? in a statement Joseph Wood claimed he heard William make saying ?You had better look out or the apes will take over?, truly presented as a product of his time in this aspect of his violent behavior towards mainly Blanche when he rapes her and Stella when he beats her. Williams uses stage directions to vividly describe Stanley beating Stella saying ?There is a sound of a blow. Stella cries out.? The use of the onomatopoeic technique ?blow? emphasizes the magnitude of violence Stanley exhibited as this portrays it as truly horrific. ...read more.

Conclusion

He instead was kind and thoughtful to Blanche and Blanche exclaims ?Thank you for being so kind! I need kindness now.? She also identified him as ?superior to the others? and yet ?sensitive [looking]?. Williams therefore portrays a great contrast between the two friends and in this way shows two types of masculinities. However this keeps the reader wondering therefore if Stanley?s attitude towards women and his treatment of them really was a result of his time or simply the character that Williams created to put across a certain message. Overall whether a product of his time or simply just his character, Stanley is a focal character in William?s portrayal of masculinity in a Street Car Named Desire. Williams mainly portrays masculinity in the play as ?using aggressive behaviour as verification of manliness, believing in male superiority, seeing women as sexual objects to be dominated and being extremely jealous and possessive? as commented by Koprince. In this way, Williams might be using Stanley?s character and his masculinity to enforce a personal message of the wrong perception of masculinity in the world. FINISHED ...read more.

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