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Lecture

17B May 14th -09.docx

4 Pages
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Department
English
Course Code
EN 1006
Professor
Alison Halsall

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May 14 2009 Gender and the American Modernist Condition: Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire  A Room of One’s Own, cont.  Staging American modernism  The Construction of Gender in Streetcar A Room of One’s Own, cont.  Mary Carmichael’s Life’s Adventure o “Chloe liked Olivia” o Form and content: Radical departure from expected story (focus on a lesbian relationship) mirrors radical departure from stylistic convention  Carmichael as an ideal writer o Ideal of androgyny: combination of male AND female characteristics in a writer Tennesee Williams  1911-1983  American dramatist  The Glass Menagerie (1945)  A Streetcar Named Desire  Streetcar won Pulitzer Prize in 1948 Themes in Streetcar  Sexual frustration  Violence  Dream vs. reality  Impossibility of connection: o Characters seek escape from ravages of time o Characters seek refuge from harshness of world o Characters who look for simple human contact (seen in Blanche and Mitch) The Staging of Modernism  Contrast between character’s psychological realism and staging departure from this realism  Play highlights mechanics of staging  Williams interested in capturing “vitality” of life  Episodic nature of play (focused on episodes of characters lives, not Acts)  Music used as a recurring motif (Varsouviana and gunshot) The Title  Signals importance if theatrical metaphor  Concrete vs. abstract  Streetcar vs. Desire  Location: French quarter in New Orleans  Theme of movement, transition, development (Blanche’s journey to madness)  What does A Streetcar Named Desire mean?  Blanche has to take the streetcar to Elisiyan Fields and she continuously has to transfer. She keeps looking for love  Desire means something different for all the characters  Blanches desire is different from Stella’s  Establishes notion of moving place to place Stanley Kowalski  Working-class  Raw sexuality  Domination  Association with food, drink and physical needs  Infantilizes Stella (‘baby doll”)  Misogynistic  He subdues Blanche by raping her Stella Kowalski  Product of privileged plantation existence  Passivity  Dependence on husband  Protects Stanley and Blanche, but cannot defend herself  Maternal sexuality  Is very dependant  She is obsessed with her husband Blanche Dubois  Elite status  Delicate, fragile  Identity built on illusions  Obsession with young boys  Importance of surface appearances  She travels with a trunk full of costumes and jewellery
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