A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire and The Handmaid's Tale Contextual Analysis of Gender 11th Grade

Through a focus upon gender, both Elia Kazan’s film of Tennessee Williams’ original play, A Streetcar Named Desire (Warner Bros, 1951) and Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid's Tale (Vintage, 1986) effectively manage to mirror the concerns of both time and place. Despite differing contextual influences, both of these texts manage to aptly explore similar issues relating to gender, revealing the universality of gender concerns. A Streetcar Named Desire reflects that the compliance to a patriarchal hierarchy results in female passivity and male dominance and when patriarchal paradigms are forced upon society, the marginalisation of women will ensue. In a similar fashion, The Handmaid’s Tale demonstrates how obedience to gender norms and expectations results in the oppression of women and how gender roles ostracise individuals, and despite subversion of the patriarchy, women continue to suffer.

Tennessee Williams’ seminal film, A Streetcar Named Desire, reflects the concerns of time and place, in which the compliance to a patriarchal hierarchy results in female passivity and male dominance is demonstrated. Williams draws parallels to his own epoch of early twentieth century America, reflecting the treatment of women as inferior...

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