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How does Tennessee Williams suggest that Stanley is an animalistic character in the play A streetcar named desire ?

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How does Tennessee Williams suggest that Stanley is an animalistic character in the play "A streetcar named desire" ? Stanley Kowalski is Stella Kowalski nee Dubois' polish husband. He works as an engineer and has acquired many rowdy friends from his place of work. Stanley does not seem to function without Stella. When Stella's sister Blanche comes to stay all of Stanley's most horrible animalistic traits seem to come to the surface. The first act of animal like behaviour we see in the play is in the very first scene where Stanley chucks some meat which is still bloody at Stella who is up at the window. This symbolises Stanley to be the provider in the family just like in a wolf pack when the male wolf goes out and hunts for meat for his family. That fact that the meat is still bloody also brings Stanley bring meat Stella and a wolf bringing meat to his family closer. The second time we see Stanley is when Blanche has arrived and Stella has left the room because Blanche has upset her. ...read more.


With this concept in mind Stanley thought it right to, completely ignore Stella's pleads for him not to and violently delve his way through blanches belongings without permission. The way Stanley did this without caring about the consequences shows that he believes that he can do whatever he likes and doesn't care about what other people may think about him or his actions. Stanley's rough and aggressive touch is very animalistic. The playwright uses these words to describe how Stanley treats blanches things. He 'shoves' blanches trunk 'roughly' open and 'jerks' everything out of it, 'snatching' blanches love letter and 'ripping' the ribbon off them. When Blanche is spraying herself with perfume and sprays Stanley playfully he 'seizes the atomiser and slams it down on the dresser'. I think why Stanley is getting so worked up in this situation is because he is used to Stella being absolutely at his knees and not stepping one foot out of place, but Blanche is doing the complete opposite, she is not fearing Stanley at all and is in fact flirting with him. ...read more.


He crosses to the small white radio and snatches it off the table. With a shouted oath, he tosses the instrument out of the window.' Stella is so shocked at Stanley's animalistic violent behaviour she says; "Drunk-drunk-animal thing you!" Stanley does not react well and advances on Stella and hits her. Stanley's friends try to calm him down, but with caution because they are scared of him because after all he is the leader of their group of friends and they don't want to cross him. Stella and Blanche want to get away from Stanley so they hide out at Eunice's. But when Stanley stands outside of the building and cries out Stella's name repeatedly like some kind of wolf, Stella goes back to him. They come together with low animal moans and Stanley falls to his knees on the steps, pressing his face against her belly. The wolf like cries of Stella's name is probably the most animal like act Stanley has done thus far in the play. To conclude the playwright suggests that Stanley is not only an animalistic character in many ways but that he is also pig headed, violent, sexist and in every way a big bully. ?? ?? ?? ?? Jessica lachlan ...read more.

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Response to the question

This essay responds averagely to this task, and the content is more akin to a GCSE essay. There is little consideration of the techniques used by Williams, and the discussion is based around the plot only. There is a good ...

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Response to the question

This essay responds averagely to this task, and the content is more akin to a GCSE essay. There is little consideration of the techniques used by Williams, and the discussion is based around the plot only. There is a good knowledge of the play here, with many of the points providing substantial evidence. However, I would like to see an exploration of Williams' construction of the play, and focusing on the effect of particular techniques on the audience.

Level of analysis

The analysis here is basic. Phrases such as "The playwright is implying here that Stanley is the alpha male of the group and he has the final say." are the best analysis evident here, but this is still weak. I don't see why they don't say Williams rather than "the playwright"! Other than the odd comment about language and Stanley's characteristics making him animalistic, there is zero focus on techniques. At A-Level, you should be able to pick detailed language points to discuss, such as the adverbs used, or the change in language when Stanley is around women. Similarly, whenever you are discussing a play, it is key that you show the examiner you appreciate the importance of theatre and dramatic devices. Instead of simply retelling the story, this essay should try and reflect upon the audience's response and why Stanley is presented as animalistic by Williams.

Quality of writing

The structure here is basic. The introduction offers nothing to the argument other than giving a background to the plot. A good introduction here would be summarising the main techniques Williams uses to present Stanley as animalistic, and making a starting comment of why he is presented as animalistic. Remember that this play is a tragedy, so this could easily be weaved in! The style here is poor, and it should be noted this is not a piece of creative writing. Phrases such as "Two days later and it's the early morning" should not be used, regardless of whether you feel it sets the analysis in context. This adds nothing to the essay or argument! Spelling, punctuation and grammar are fine.

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Reviewed by groat 28/06/2012

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