A Streetcar Named Desire

Explore the way in which marriage is presented in both ‘The Great Gatsby’ and ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ 11th Grade

Within ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ by Tennessee Williams, and ‘The Great Gatsby’ by Scott Fitzgerald, marriage is debated, and potentially condemned, in three different fashions. Interestingly despite the two pieces being written and based twenty years apart, these three topics can be easily identified in both; what marriage means for women in a patriarchal society, the importance/ lack of importance of sex within married life, and the potential of marriage as a financial agreement. In both texts, the prospects for unmarried females are presented as grim. In A Streetcar Named Desire this is achieved through the comparison of Blanche, (Unmarried), and Stella, (Married). Here, in addition to their evidently differing mental states, Williams presents the sisters’ comparative expectations through their names, with Blanche Dubois translating as ‘White Woods’ in French. This illustrates connotations of purity, virginity, etc. which despite a lack of either, Blanche obsesses over conveying, supported through her consistent linking with the colour white, and her ‘purification rituals‘ through bathing. Additionally, ‘white’ has connotations of nothingness, emptiness, etc. In contrast, Stella, translating as ‘star’, has associations of...

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