Tennessee Williams Gender Roles In A Streetcar Named Desire

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Restricted and contained. Imagine being stuck in one place and not knowing if there is an escape. Does this sound terrible? Well then, this is how it felt to be a woman in the 1940’s. During this time period women were not encouraged to pursue careers or make a name for themselves. No, they were told to be a good wife and that their lives could not be validated unless they were a quiet, subservient wife behind their husband. This role was portrayed by the character, Stella from the play A Streetcar Named Desire. Tennessee Williams, author of this play accurately depicts the standard role of a woman in the 1940’s. She rarely talked back to her husband and stayed with him even after he beat her and raped her sister. Did she really have no other…show more content…
Do they want someone who is strong and perseverant or someone who is weak willed and subservient? One could say that it depends on the specific individual, but this is not at all how it was in the 1940’s. During this time women were expected to be simply an extension of their husband. They were told not to work or make anything special of themselves. The article, “Gender Roles and Expectations” by Susana A. Eisenchlas, discusses how stereotypes are so rooted into a person that it affects the way they act. For example, men are supposed to be agentic; they are told to speak for themselves and act in a way that increases their power. On the other hand, women are supposed to communal; they are told to be assisting to the desires and well being of others. These expectations were displayed in the play, “A Streetcar Named Desire”, by Tennessee Williams.
Two of the main characters, Stanley and Stella perfectly represent the characteristics mentioned in the article. “Every man is a king! And I am the king around here so don’t forget it!” (Williams,131). Stanley shouting these remarks prove the stereotypes of that time period. Men were openly acting dominant towards women, and Stella didn’t even say anything against it. The “traditional” roles of man and woman were very much displayed in the 1940’s but how much in our modern
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