Compare and Contrast How the Theme of Love and Sex Is Presented in ‘1984’ by George Orwell and ‘a Streetcar Named Desire’ by Tennessee Williams in the Light of the View That Both Texts Have More to Say About Hate, Than Love.”

Topics: Nineteen Eighty-Four, Two Minutes Hate, Love Pages: 7 (2424 words) Published: October 14, 2012
The theme of love and sex plays an important role in the play “A Streetcar Named Desire” and the dystopian novel “1984”. However in order to measure if hate is a more occurring theme, a comparison must be made of the two texts with the conclusion of which theme is used the most.

Williams’ work can be measured as one of the most controversial plays of all time, and “A Streetcar Named Desire” lives up to this reputation. For the time in which it was written, in the 1940’s, this play challenged the taboo issues of violence, promiscuity and perhaps the most frowned upon at the time, homosexuality. Williams himself was homosexual and he portrays Blanche’s husband’s reaction to her confronting him to his own problems dealing with his sexuality. Similarly “1984” can also be tracked back to Orwell’s own experiences. George Orwell wrote the novel shortly after the end of the Second World War. Many aspects of the novel such as inaccurate propaganda and the bombs dropped on the Proles were experience by Orwell himself in London.

It could be said that Stanley’s rape of Blanche leads to her inevitable demise. However a number of events have taken place in her life contributing towards her break down, for example the death of her husband who she loved, the loss of her family and the loss of her house and career. The central topic of violence is initially exposed to the audience during scene one, with a subtle indication of Stanley and Stella’s physicality as he “heaves” a package of meat at her. This reference to meat suggests that Stanley is the masculine provider, who traditionally supports his wife. This impersonal yet primal exchange between the two characters is a first vague image of their type of communication.

Williams continues to involve violence in this slight form during the scene through Blanche’s recollections of the DuBois family estate, Belle Reve, and how it was lost. During this verbally aggressive conversation, Blanche taunts Stella for not being there, using intense and passionate language to describe how she, “stayed and fought for it, bled for it, almost died for it”. This language suits Blanche’s character as she is often over the top and dramatic. However it is not until scene three when “Stanley gives a loud whack of his hand on her (Stella’s) thigh” that the audience whiteness the physical violence of Stanley and Stella’s relationship. Although it is debatable whether Stanley’s action was aggressive or a sign of affection, Stella sees Stanley’s public slapping of her as inappropriate and she comments that it is “not fun”. Again it is clear to the audience that their relationship is expressed primarily through physicality. The relationship between these two characters therefore contrasts with the suppressed sexuality of more civilised characters such as Blanche.

This behaviour also largely contrasts with that of the people of Oceana in ‘1984’, The Party and all its people behave accordingly, abiding by the Party’s rules. Sex is very important in both texts and there are similarities between several characters, Blanche and Julia use their sexuality to flirt with men and sexually manipulate them for their own gain. One critic has said; ‘Winston is only able to rebel against the party through his affair with Julia’ So although Julia uses men to rebel, Winston is doing the same to Julia, she is just another clever way of feeling in control of his own life. But Blanche uses it for several different reasons, one example of this is her seduction of the young paper boy,"come on over here like I told you! I want to kiss you - just once - softly and sweetly on your mouth.” This again is to benefit herself, it makes her feel desirable and also she gets a thrill out of nearly being caught by Mitch. Blanche’s reasons for sleeping with men is to feel wanted, she has relationships with young men to relive her past relationship with Allan Grey, she wants that chance again to be young, happy and in love. Feeling this...
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