A Streetcar Named Desire Identity Analysis

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Identity conjures up an image of self-regard statically set in the beholder’s environment. However, identity is an active interplay between self-regard and the environment. This interplay takes center stage in Tennessee Williams’ 1947 A Streetcar Named Desire, as Blanche Dubois moves in with her sister Stella and brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski in New Orleans. Upon her arrival, Blanche and her grandiose air offend Stanley. His identity centers around his masculinity, and Blanche and her presence challenge and physically obstruct his identity. As a result, Stanley’s personal insecurity burgeons, but he ultimately reaffirms his masculine identity by raping Blanche. After Blanche engenders his self-awareness and self-doubt, Stanley rapes Blanche as an attestation to himself of his own masculinity in order to restore his identity, evincing his vanity.
Blanche dehumanizes Stanley by heralding her superiority, and he self-consciously affirms his humanity in reaction. Blanche intimates the function of her frequent baths when she accuses Stanley of being incapable of understanding the emotions which warrant such a remedy. Justifying her baths as an emotional panacea, Blanche patronizes Stanley, explaining to him that “without a nerve” on his body he does not “know what anxiety feels
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Self-aware following Blanche’s dehumanizing ridicule, Stanley self-assuredly maintains his humanity, yet privately. Blanche obstructs Stanley’s capacity to sleep with Stella, consequently arousing his self-doubt. Stanley’s rape of Blanche demonstrates he is possessive in his desire to restore his identity. During her stay with the Kowalskis, Blanche punctures Stanley’s foundation, and he scrambles to restore it. Yet his quivering inner-dialogue demonstrates the futility of his conquest. His old identity submits before its shaper, even as he stifles
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