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Free Write

Blah. This essay is stressing me out. Okay. Streetcar Named Desire. And...go! I’m definitely going to write about Blanche, obviously, as she’s easily the most complex character of the play. I’ll probably write about her in terms of gender roles and expectations in post-WWII America, and probably in comparison to Stanley as well. Now, what do I write about that—specifically? What was expected of woman in the late 1940’s? They were men’s subordinates; in terms of the binary—men were the positive half, and women made up the other, lesser half. Women were the “other”, much like black people next to white people in the binary. Women were expected to get married and settle down—the cultural “Rosie the Riveter” phenomenon of WWII had passed and it wasn’t socially acceptable for women to work in traditional male jobs now that all the men were back. Blanche is a traveling stage actress. Her outside is unfixed, therefore her interior is as well. What it is Tennessee Williams saying about culture during that period? The action of the play is not out of the ordinary for that time period—did Williams set it up that way on purpose? He didn’t make any obvious social commentary. By keeping the underlying commentary subtle, the play has an even greater impact. The characters are more believable, and therefore easier to sympathize with/abhor, Blanche especially. She provokes an interesting reaction—I’m sympathetic to her plight, and there are moments when she’s a strong dynamic character, like when she tries to convince Stella to leave Stanley because he’s clearly very abusive towards her. But then, as soon as men come back into the picture, she’s back to being a simpering, pathetic mess again. That’s an underlying message I think; could I analyze it using feminist criticism? This essay could be a feminist criticism of the play! I could use the discussion of binary in my Critical Terms book, and the feminist chapter of the blue book....
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