The Men Are Often Bullies and Cheats, the Women Fools for Love: A Streetcar Named Desire and Rebecca in the Light

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“In du Maurier’s novels the men are often bullies & cheats, the women fools for love.” Compare and contrast a Streetcar named Desire and Rebecca in the light of this quotation. Men and women are perceived in different ways throughout ‘Rebecca’ and ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’. Arguably some of the male characters particularly Stanley Kowalski and Maxim de Winter can be identified as bullies and cheats, however in the two texts, these traits can also be associated with Rebecca and Blanche, respectively. The trait of being foolish for love can be applied to Stella Kowalski and Mrs de Winter however to some extent it can also be linked to Blanche in the light of her struggle to find a man to protect, and cherish her. On the other hand it can also be associated with Mitch suggesting that this quote is inaccurate to some extent as the attributes described are not wholly gender specific. The quote would seem to embody the attitudes of the patriarchal society at the time of writing and publication, with Rebecca being written in 1938 and Streetcar being performed for the first time in 1947. The shift in perception in today’s society, gives the reader a different understanding of the texts, allowing the original audience to have a different reaction to several aspects of the texts; an example would be the fact that a promiscuous wife would cause shock to the audience. Using our view point of relationships and the representation of men and women in the 21st century gives us the ability to create an increasingly balanced observation. An example of this could be the ability to distinguish Maxim in different lights, he can be seen as a bully due to his secretive lifestyle and terrible secret, however one can also sympathise with his character by his foolishness in appreciating Rebecca, and being unable to articulate his love in the right way to Mrs de Winter. In the light of this quote, du Maurier’s representation of Rebecca makes her an unconventional character. She has many...
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