Disconcerting Behaviour in The Wasp Factory and A Streetcar Named Desire

Topics: Blanche DuBois, Stanley Kowalski, Stella Kowalski Pages: 6 (2251 words) Published: October 12, 2013
‘Compare the ways writers’ present disconcerting behaviour in both texts so far.’ The following will elucidate how disturbing behaviour is conveyed in the novel The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks and the play, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams. In A Streetcar Named Desire, the theme of violence is very frequent in the character Stanley Kowalski. Stanley is a married, young man, who comes across to the reader as quite an enraged person with animalistic attributes. A prime insinuation of Stanley’s difference to regular humans is when Stella DuBois (Stanley’s wife) explains to her sister that Stanley is of “a different species”, foreshadowing that Williams may be warning the reader that Stanley is capable of things that are not in the norm. Additionally, his manner of walking is often described as “stalks”, which is commonly used to describe animals, such as smilodons and cheetahs and both of which are quite vicious, uncontrollable creatures. Further animalistic gestures performed by Stanley include “jerks out an armful of dresses” and “jerks open a small drawer”, not to mention the fact that he “kicks the trunk”. In excess of these being certain exemplifications of Stanley’s brutal attitude, they also indicate Stanley’s lack of self-control, which once again is similar to an animal trait, as animals are liable to be quite ruthless and don’t think about their actions before they carry it out. Furthermore, the fact that Stanley is acting quite rudely towards his sister-in-law and a just-arrived guest fortifies the belief that he is uncaring and confounding towards new people, thus makes him even more animal-like, since most animals dislike people or things that are new to them. Inasmuch, the above is a distinctive example of disconcerting behaviour, particularly because Stanley is an adult and adults tend to be very responsible people, however in the above case mentioned Stanley is not as he is behaving rather irresponsibly. Playwright Tennessee Williams suffered a very brutal childhood filled with abuse and mistreat. The actions of Stanley are highly significant as they reflect on and are analogous to Williams’ father, who physically abused Tennessee Williams callously when he was child up to his teenage years. Williams himself claimed that A Streetcar Named Desire was “Everything I had to say”, which goes to show the significance of the playwright’s life on A Streetcar Named Desire. Another major indication of Stanley’s violence is when he “gives a loud whack of his hand on her (referring to Stella) thigh” and gives her a rough beating when Stella tries to calm Stanley down from being abrasive towards Blanche, which is relatively disconcerting, since Stella is pregnant; hence she is in need of comfort, love and support. In opposed to Stanley giving Stella moral support and his duty as a husband to protect his pregnant wife, Stanley seems to think it is okay to hurt her, which is fundamentally wrong and very disturbing. On the other hand, the above mentioned phase of the play reinforces the fact that there was much male dominance in the early 1900s. Stella is also portrayed as one of the weaknesses than the strengths of civilisation in her acceptance of a husband who gives her satisfaction of physical desire. Critic, Nancy Tischner suggests “apparently Williams wants the audience to believe that Stella is wrong in loving Stanley, but right in living with him.” Personally, I agree with Tischner, simply because it was explicit that the 1900s was a patriarchal society. Women were inferior to men and were represented mostly through their husbands; consequently they were submissive and dependent on their husbands, because they needed a place to live and food to eat. The message of male ascendancy is articulated in a conversation between Stanley and Stella in which Stella asks her husband for money so she could buy her sister dinner, because she knows she hasn’t any money herself: “…you’d better give me some money”...
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