Blanche DuBois – A Southern Belle as Victim of Systematic Oppression 1. Introduction
“Just remember what Huey Long said - that every man’s a king- and I’m the king around here” QUELLE!! With this statement Stanley Kowalski, one of the protagonists in “A Streetcar Named Desire” a play published in 1947 by one of the most famous authors of the South Tennessee Williams, the character captures the critical issue at stake – the underprivileged and repressed role of women in American society at the time right after the Great Depression and World War II. The theme of an older, decadent and back then dying plantation society whose values and virtues were challenged by a new male-dominated and aggressively materialistic society of immigrants gained more and more in importance (Zapf 298). Also Tennessee Williams was aware of the increasing conflict of new and old values. Born in Columbus, Mississippi, as son of a tatterdemalion father who was driven by sex and alcohol and as son of a very much the southern belle like, oppressed and refined mother, a daughter of an Episcopalian minister, he grew up in the cultural clash of a traditional southern society (Müller 92). In his social environment he very soon felt like an unadapted outsider. A disease that prevented him from the integration in a group of male peers, the exaggerated care by his mother and the experience of her nervous breakdowns and conniptions, his homosexuality that was taboo as well as moving from the rural area in Mississippi into an anonymous metropolis in the West made him feel weak, troubled and in a certain way oppressed (Müller 92). These physical and mental sufferings let him slip into promiscuity and alcohol and drug abuse. To escape this undesirable, foreign and hostile reality, Williams fled into the world of writing where he could found shelter by the use of symbolism and fictional mantling in the world of illusions (Müller 93). Especially by the representation of Blanche DuBois the actual...
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