McEwan and Williams focus on what it means to be both powerful and powerless in a variety of contexts. Discuss their exploration of these ideas with reference to both male and females. I will be comparing and contrasting Tennessee Williams play of 1947 ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ with Ian McEwen’ novel ‘Enduring Love’ of 1997. I aim to focus on the theme of power as presented by both authors. The first, a play, explores how power shifts between men and women such as the way that Blanche’s character loses the power of her status to become dependent on Stanley. The second looks at the power struggle between two men explored through Joe’s obsession created by Jed whilst still highlighting the power struggle of a woman in the way that Clarissa loses control over Joe. (I will be looking at the many types of power such as; cultural, financial, sexual, psychological...)
Both authors show the importance of the power of culture on society; we see the impact that it has on the characters. In Tennessee’s play Blanche panics about the social stigma attached to her being a single woman. Williams uses this character to portray how patriarchal society controlled and held power over women in the 40s. Blanche’s inferiority complex dictates ‘They think a girl over thirty ought to – the vulgar term – “put out.”’ He emphasises her complex about age; she feels she must be in a relationship to comply with the norms and expectations of society. Culture granted men a pre-disposed upper hand by frowning upon single woman thus taking power away from the woman in the form of her independence and giving it to the man by making her dependant on him. Williams displays this through Blanche’s insecurities about a lack of husband especially at her age leading her to rely upon Stanley, depending on his ‘say so’ for shelter and survival. In contrast McEwan’s post feminist character, Clarissa of the 90’s culture gives power to women as portrayed by McEwan’s post feminist...
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