Case Study: Blanche Dubois And Southern Belle

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Mihaela Turcu, American Studies, MA, II Where are the Southern Belles? Case Study: Blanche DuBois and Scarlet O’Hara The history of the American literature knows multiple changes throughout time and has registered various influences. Regionalism is an example that could sustain this argument, marking the 19th century with its particularities and local color. The real time events that marked America during the period that preceded and followed the Civil War did not go unnoticed. Many writers portrayed in their literary works plots, settings and characters that were torn from real life experiences. The Southern Belle is one of the most recognizable examples of that era and even today it remains an intriguing study case for…show more content…
From this moment on she is forced to choose between exploring her femininity and doing what she can in order to provide for herself. These features and typology of character are represented the best by two famous writers: Tennessee Williams and Margaret Mitchel. Despite their different artistic visions the two authors have created representatives of the Southern Belle. Blanche DuBois from A Streetcar Named Desire and Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind are the characters in charge of depicting the tremors of the Southern woman affected by the changes in society. Blanche DuBois is the fallen Southern Bell who cannot find her place in the post-war society. After the suicide of her husband she has become sexually promiscuous and she found herself forced to sell Belle Reve, the plantation home where she had been living since she was born. Blanche evocues certain features of the Southern Belle: she is accustomed to a certain standard of living and she cannot bring herself to comprehend…show more content…
Williams portrays Blanche as a female who has had to use her sexuality in order to survive. This is a result of the Southern education which prepared the young women for seducing men with the purpose of finding a husband. Therefore, when the financial support disappeared, women had to choose the way they wanted to continue living their life. Knowing to use only her sexuality, Blanche adopts promiscuity as a manner of gaining shelter but she is shortly renegaded by society and forced to leave Laurel. On the other hand, the depiction of Margaret Mitchell of her Southern Belle is a bit different from the classical Blanche. In Gone with the Wind, the portrayal of Scarlett O’Hara shows a more versatile Southern Belle that transforms and adapts to life in Atlanta and on the plantation. Scarlet is seen from the beginning as a pragmatic woman who fights for what she wants regardless of society’s rules. However, this feature turns her into a social outcast because she is permanently judged by society for her bold decisions (not wearing mourning clothes after her husband’s
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