Gender Roles In The Yellow Wallpaper And A Streetcar Named Desire

1534 words - 6 pages

Many different depictions of gender roles exist in all times throughout the history of American culture and society. Some are well received and some are not. When pitted against each other for all intents and purposes of opposition, the portrayal of the aspects and common traits of masculinity and femininity are separated in a normal manner. However, when one gender expects the other to do its part and they are not satisfied with the results and demand more, things can shift from normal to extreme fairly quickly. This demand is more commonly attributed by the men within literary works. Examples of this can be seen in Tennessee Williams' “A Streetcar Named Desire”, where Stella is constantly being pushed around and being abused by her drunken husband Stanley, and also in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's “The Yellow Wallpaper”, where the female narrator is claimed unfit by her husband as she suffers from a sort of depression, and is generally looked down on for other reasons.
In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, Gilman has carefully crafted her sentences and metaphors to instill a picture of lurid and creepy male oppression. The surface of the text contains clues about Gilman’s perceptions of the treatment and roles of women, the narrator stumbling over words like “phosphates”, her being uncertain whether the correct term was “phosphates or phosphites” (Gilman 1684), which clearly shows that in her time women had been overlooked in education and because for a time, only men had that privilege, they were able to learn what they had to in order to earn jobs, which is illustrated in her husband and her brother both being “a physician of high standing” (Gilman 1684). The character Gilman has set up has the qualities and traits of the Victorian woman – non-technical, simple, and dutiful to her husband. This main character is a very naive and faithful wife who essentially does what her husband, the all-knowing physician tells her to do, and thus agrees to his suggestion of the treatment for her depression based on his advice and instruction. The pattern of the wallpaper is also significant because in a manner of speaking, it symbolizes solitary confinement and it is almost like the room she is in is one resembling one seen in a mental institution, or could also be considered to be a jail cell and the woman had been put behind bars; both cases would involve desperately trying to find some way to escape and declare her freedom.
Soon after her imprisonment, and soon after her convincing herself there is another woman lurking within who is behind the bars of the yellow wallpaper, the situation being seen as reminiscent of a would-be prisoner's captivity. When she herself desires to get out, demonstrated by her “getting angry enough to do something desperate” (Gilman 1694), she shows strength and determination, which are typically very masculine traits. However, they are dismissed with her later display of her own expected feminine traits, such as codependency. When...

Find Another Essay On Gender Roles in The Yellow Wallpaper and A Streetcar Named Desire

Gender Roles in The Yellow Wallpaper

1490 words - 6 pages child, and there was nothing the narrator could have done. The society demanded that, she should not argue with her husband and so, she was suffering but could do nothing about her suffering and being kept away from her child. Charlotte Gilman in The Yellow Paper explores how rigid gender roles have negative influence on both men and women. John, the narrator’s husband was a respected doctor, but he is caught up in his wife’s situation and

Gender Roles “The Yellow Wallpaper”

831 words - 4 pages Charlotte Perkins Gilman in “The Yellow Wallpaper” explores gender roles that hint at the complications of this short story. “John laughs at me, of course” shows the insight into a largely known problem in human societies and relationships. The fictional short story shows the chilling nonfictional concerns of gender subordination in present times. One is shown in a series of events the challenges of a woman, the narrator, living in a male

A Streetcar Named Desire

1279 words - 6 pages nice things. Stella uses this theme when it comes to Stanley's constant abuse to her. Ruskino, Susan. “ A Streetcar Named Desire. “ Magill's Survey of American Literature, Revised Edition (2006): 1-2. Literary Reference Center. Web. 5 Dec. 2013. A Streetcar Named Desire focuses on issues around sexuality, gender, and identity. In the play Blanche used to be husband committed suicide this left her vulnerable, and also allowed her

A Streetcar Named Desire

869 words - 3 pages being more or less a giveaway, but I now see why this classic still attracts a great number of people guessing as to what is hidden behind the title A Streetcar Named Desire. An uncontrollable desire is a "streetcar" which drives all the main characters in the movie and determines their destinies. Symbolic meaning, a variety of roles and feelings going on at the same time, and brilliant characters are what makes this movie worth watching.Works CitedEbert, Roger. A Streetcar Named Desire. 12 Nov. 1993. 1 Apr. 2005. .A Streetcar Named Desire. Dir. Elia Kazan. Perf. Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando.1951. Videocassette. Warner Bros., 1993.

a streetcar named desire

1270 words - 6 pages A Streetcar Named Desire is a Pulitzer Prize-Winning play. The film was nominated for twelve nominations and was awarded four Oscars. It is a stage play with elements of tragedy. The play opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theater in New York City on December 3, 1947. The producer of the play Charles Feldman sold the production to the Warner Bros. The play was written by Tennessee Williams. Williams is considered the greatest Southern playwright and

A Streetcar Named Desire

742 words - 3 pages All relationships have their ups and down; the effects of these quarrels may lead to violence or love. William Tennessee's A Streetcar Named Desire is a story about two sisters Stella and Blanche DuBois. The older, Blanche, arrives in her sister and brother in law, Stanley Kowalski's, relationship. Blanche used to live in a house named Bell Reve, which she didn't have anywhere to go. The arrival of Blanche highlighted and traced the violence and

A Streetcar Named Desire - 1151 words

1151 words - 5 pages In A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams focuses on Blanche's deception, paradoxically also identifying her as the most honest character in the play. He thus asks his audience to question whether true honesty is accepting harsh reality or recognizing the human need for magic, idealism, and lies to cope with life.Fantasy is a product of the imagination that one creates to escape the harsh realities of life. Blanche realizes her need to

A Streetcar Named Desire - 1160 words

1160 words - 5 pages Tennessee Williams vividly describes mid-twentieth century New Orleans, as he perceived it, through his play ?A Streetcar Named Desire?. His primary goal in the first scene seemed to be to portray the vast difference between the inhabitants of a city, New Orleans, and the more country-inclined folk, like the main character, Blanche Dubois. However in order to effectively do this, he was sure to set a striking scene.The stage directions in the

A Streetcar Named Desire - 1877 words

1877 words - 8 pages The drama A Streetcar Named Desire is one of Tennessee Williams most well-known plays. Blanche DuBois seeks refuge in her sister’s home after the loss of their ancestral home, the Belle Reve plantation. Her little sister, no more than a year younger than she, shares her home with her husband. During Blanche’s stay, she attempts to escape her past, start afresh, and attract a new suitor to settle down. However, she is tormented by her aggressive

A Streetcar Named Desire - 805 words

805 words - 3 pages Thomas Lanier Williams, known as Tennessee Williams, was a man of contradictions and clashing passions, so were his short fictions and plays. ?A Street Car Named Desire? was one of his most successful and most performed plays. The title of the play has relations with the specific location; New Orleans is actually served by streetcars named ?Desire? and ?Cemetery?. The action might be summed up as Blanche?s (the main character of the play

Fantasy and Illusion in A Streetcar Named Desire

1381 words - 6 pages direction of reality of life. In Tennessee William’s play, A Streetcar Named Desire, through the study of character and tropology, fantasy and illusion allow one to make life appear as it should be rather than as it is. Blanche is a delusional character who creates life from her imagination to help her pass through the hardness of life. Blanche admits that living in fantasy is much better than living in reality. When she was talking to

Similar Essays

Gender Roles In A Streetcar Named Desire

2306 words - 9 pages as is too often the case, she is in complete control and dominates over them as Stanley dominates over Stella. Her masculinity and sexual power overwhelm her and turn her from a meek belle into an animal ready to pounce on the unwilling, where these targets for her are a dirty secret she can’t control her love for her sister is the salvation that she holds so tightly to. A Streetcar Named Desire is a hotbed in which gender roles run rampant

The Characters In A Streetcar Named Desire

2138 words - 9 pages A Streetcar Named Desire is a classic tragedy written by Tennessee Williams, which earned him the Pulitzer Prize as well as many other awards. This brilliant play explores many important themes and issues. The main recurring theme Williams explores to the readers is the conflict between fantasy and reality, honesty and lies. However, sexuality, violence, and social differences also shape the action of the plot, in which they contribute to the

A Streetcar Named Desire And The Awakening

1740 words - 7 pages their own jobs nor were they were financially dependent. In The Awakening and A Streetcar Named Desire we will compare and contrast how the main, female characters in each novel differentiated from each other and how the authors uses symbolism in order to represent a deeper meaning. In A Streetcar Named Desire, Blanche DuBois is introduced as a Southern belle who loses her fortune, including the family home, Belle Reve and is grieving from the

Gender Roles In The Yellow Wallpaper

1467 words - 6 pages Gender Roles in The Yellow Wallpaper         In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short story "The Yellow Wallpaper," the reader is treated to an intimate portrait of developing insanity. At the same time, the story's first person narrator provides insight into the social attitudes of the story's late Victorian time period. The story sets up a sense of gradually increasing distrust between the narrator and her husband, John, a doctor, which