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Compare The Ways In Which Williams And Plath Explore Violence In A Streetcar Named Desire And The Bell Jar Essay

596 words - 3 pages

Thesis: Violence is a key theme that dominates much of the action throughout both novels. Violence is used as a tool for men to control women.

Violence dominates a large portion of the action in both A streetcar named Desire and The bell jar. It is explored in many different forms such as physically, mentally and emotionally. In A Streetcar Named Desire, we see violence plague many of the relationships, particularly between Stanley and Stella. Their relationship is one heavily affected by physical violence but maintained by submissiveness and sexual desire displayed by Stella which promotes the continuing of this toxic relationship. During the time when the Bell Jar was written, it's considered natural for men to have sexual desires and to indulge these desires outside marriage, women are expected to remain chaste until they marry, and when they do marry, sex is all about having children as it has nothing to do with romance or intimacy. The darker side of this sexual double standard is that sex is often associated with violence in the novel in ways that blur the line between consensual sex and rape: the sexual act is portrayed as another way for men to assert their dominance over women. In the Bell jar, Ester’s near-close call with sexual assault highlights the extent that violence is present in society.

Violence is explored in many different forms throughtout both novels. Masculinity plays a big role in A streetcar named Desire through the character of Stanley through his use of aggression, brute and animalistic force. His strength is emphasised frequently throughout the novel and he asserts his dominance through raising his voice and using violence. Williams characterises Stanley as forceful in every aspect of life: strength, personality and even by the way he dresses. He wears...

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