Hegemony in a Streetcar Named Desire

Topics: Racism, Discrimination, Blanche DuBois Pages: 3 (1004 words) Published: October 15, 2012
Consider the characters of Stanley, Blanche and Stella and their behaviours in Scene 1. Using your own words, describe whether you think is reinforcing or challenging hegemony in “A Streetcar Named Desire”.

I think Tennessee Williams is not challenging hegemony in the play “A Streetcar Named Desire” and it’s maintaining the cultural and social topics of the time.
To start off, the characters of Stella, Stanley and Blanche are showing prejudices and discrimination by their actions, behaviour and the way they speak and act. The first clear example is the racial inequality shown, firstly by Blanche with Eunice. Although she lives in the same place as white people and she’s integrated, Blanche doesn’t treat her as an equal saying “What I meant was I’d like to be left alone”. From the beginning we can see that Eunice is serving and asking Blanche while she is answering rudely and not wanting to be helped, responding with monosyllables as “Yes”, “No”, “Thanks”. Blanche doesn’t want to be related or either talk with a black woman, showing the racism of the time.

Another example of racist discrimination is when Blanche talks with Stella about Stanley. There are various examples of it along the first scene but the most clear is when Blanche refers to him, he names him “Polak”. In one occasion, once Stella is stating that Stanley is Polish, he’s even confused or associated with Irish by Blanche, “Oh, yes. They’re something like Irish, aren’t they?”. There’s is not an integration of foreigners from the Americans, yet they are seen as the same people that have the same culture. She’s maintaining the old idea which says that every immigrant is the same to the other and that they are different to the citizens of the USA.

But the principle topic which is named and shown through the characters all over the play is the role of men with women and their relations. There is a type of machismo in the scene which is latent all over the scene. Firstly we can assume or we...
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