To what extent are Stanley Kowalski and Blanche DuBois caricatures of masculinity and femininity? Could the performers play against caricature by revealing a more feminine side of Stanley and a more masculine quality I Blanche, or would that be a misreading of the play? Write an essay in which you discuss the play’s depiction of gender roles.
Gender roles and sexuality are central to the drama of A Streetcar Named Desire. Stanley and Blanche conform to the expected roles of men and women at the time. The power struggle between Stanley and Blanche conveys dominant ideas about gender such as the primitive nature, aggression and brutality of the masculine and the vulnerability and physicality of the feminine. Stanley is the perfect example of the prescribed gender role. One can see that he is lusty and sexual because women including Stella are charmed by his good looks. According to Shmoop Stanley is the provider and head of the household. He sees Stella's role as a homemaker, who stays at home, cooks his meals, and generally takes care of him. As such, he also expects Stella to respect him. On the other hand Blanche is a character that fits the gender role but change into a different role throughout the play. For example, when Blanche first appears in the play, she is portrayed as a high class feminine woman, who needs a man who will fix her problems and take care of her, but as time goes on, Blanche transforms into a liar and she even says, “I don’t want realism, I want magic.” (1458).This quote means that she rather lives in a fantasy world filled with illusions, and the prescribed gender role is also an illusion as well. The performers play against caricature by revealing the feminine side of Stanley in scene three where he was a loving husband, that was very ashamed of himself for what he have done to Stella. But this was quickly turned as Stanley prescribes his gender role again. The performers choose not to...
Cited: Shmoop Editorial Team. "Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire" Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 12 Dec. 2012.
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