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Encountering Others, Love, Friendship: A Streetcar Named Desire

Encountering Others, Love, Friendship: A Streetcar Named Desire | LELE | Scoop.it
Yasmeen Diana C.'s insight:

A Streetcar Named Desire is a play written by Tennessee Williams in 1947. The story is about a married couple, Stella and Stanley, who despite Stanley’s aggressiveness and violent tendencies, love each other and live vicariously through their sex life. They manage to live peacefully (or violently, depending on one’s point of view) until Stella gets a visit from her sister, Blanche Dubois. Blanche is a peculiar woman who resorts to her beauty, compulsive lying, and manipulation of men to obtain what she desires, which usually is some form of attention. She suffers from what one can only describe as insanity, as she seems to not be able to draw the line between real life and her hallucinations. Blanche’s character is believed to be based on the playwright’s sister Rose, who was institutionalized for life after a lobotomy gone wrong in an attempt to fix her schizophrenia. The play revolutionized theater and entertainment media by addressing taboo topics (albeit not always in so many words) such as rape, promiscuity, and homosexuality. 

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Encountering Others, Love, Friendship: The Perception of Women by Tennessee Williams in Streetcar Named Desire

Encountering Others, Love, Friendship: The Perception of Women by Tennessee Williams in Streetcar Named Desire | LELE | Scoop.it
Yasmeen Diana C.'s insight:

In many of his plays, Tennessee Williams chooses a female character to embody the protagonist. Although this differs from most stories published during that time period and might seem to give women a more important role in society, one cannot help but notice the absolutely awful manner he decides to portray women. Stella is described as nothing more than “Stanley’s wife”. She is basically under his control, serving him and doting on him as if he were a child (but with other benefits as well). In order to be provided for, she endures Stanley’s dangerously violent outbursts that do legitimately pose a risk to her safety, no matter how “exciting” she has deluded herself into thinking he is. One can only wonder exactly how excited she was when he so generously decided to help her clear the table by smashing his plate against the wall. In addition to that, Blanche is unreservedly deranged. She is caught up in a world that only exists in her mind and cannot make the difference between what is happening on earth and her hallucinations. Apart from her mental sanity that arguably does not even exist, she is depicted as being a lying, manipulating, fake, selfish, and promiscuous woman who despite her best efforts to command whatever room she walks in, is dominated by Stanley the same way her sister is, if not worse. All in all, the perception of women Williams presents in A Streetcar Named Desire is cynical, adverse to social progress, and extremely hypocritical for a gay man during this time period in a conservative place. 

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Encountering Others, Love, Frienship - A Streetcar Named Desire: Book vs. Movie

Yasmeen Diana C.'s insight:

The way Williams chose to write Stanley, Stella and Blanche’s story contributes immensely to the different ways one may interpret it. The interpretation is more open because A Streetcar Named Desire is a play, which indicates a lack of narrative apart from basic stage directions. The way the characters feel or what they mean with certain words are up to the reader’s (and/or actor’s) understanding. Because of this, it is important to watch the film, which was produced alongside the author in the appropriate time period. We can especially talk about the scene where Stanley offers to help Stella clear the table by throwing his plate at the wall. In the book, it seemed ridiculous, even comical, that he would react in such a way. Watching the movie, however, comedy was the furthest thing from the actors’ and moviemakers’ intentions. The women in the room, Stella and Blanche, were hunched over the table in fear, hoping not to aggravate Stanley anymore by submitting themselves to him as though they were at his service, begging not to be the target of his anger. These two different takes on the situation presented by Williams make an important statement vis-à-vis of the way women are perceived in society and the media in the 1940s compared to now.

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Apple Macintosh Commercial (1984)

Yasmeen Diana C.'s insight:

The novel 1984 does not only discuss the political aspect of living in such a nation. Indeed, the social aspect of that type of world is described in great detail in order to give the reader insight of the awful lives of those trapped in a regime such as "Big Brother's". The people are trained to become robots, submissive to the higher powers. They cannot do anything without being closely watched, they cannot say anything without being reported (even by their own family), they cannot even think anything that isn't explicitly permitted. 

This type of submissive and robotic behavior can be observed in the Apple Macintosh commercial that aired during the 1984 Superbowl. The people are slaves to the dullness around them as well as themselves, living in a world of complete ignorance, until the Apple Macintosh frees them from their mental and physical prison.

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Author In His Time: Nineteen Eighty-Four Film (1984)

Yasmeen Diana C.'s insight:

The movie Nineteen Eighty-Four, released in 1984, is a much more loyal adaptation of George Orwell's novel. The movie, like the book, follows the life of George Winston, a man living in Oceania under the dictatorship of a mysterious "Big Brother". The audience can feel Winston's hopeless challenges as he seeks to ride above a society trapped under the robotic and inhumane standards of an invisible and possibly fictitious leader.

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Encountering Others, Love, Friendship in A Streetcar Named Desire

Encountering Others, Love, Friendship in A Streetcar Named Desire | LELE | Scoop.it
Yasmeen Diana C.'s insight:

The plot of the play relates to the notion “Encountering others, love, friendship” through the various relationships the different characters have with each other. As it is represented on the diagram above, this multitude of emotions can be summarized in a triangle depicting the three main characters: Stella, Blanche, and Stanley. Stella and Stanley are in a “loving” relationship that is mostly fueled for the lust and passion they share in bed, although one may convincingly argue that they do truly love each other (based off of the way she is attached to him and his reaction of sorrow when he thinks she has left him). Blanche is the “other” who comes along to disrupt the peace they shared. The couple has mixed feelings towards her: Stella loves her, Stanley strongly dislikes her. It is almost as if the author is trying to make a point that there is never enough love and friendship to go around when an “other” is involved, which is further emphasized by Blanche’s constant craving for attention and love.

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Encountering Others, Love, Friendship: Censorship in A Streetcar Named Desire

Encountering Others, Love, Friendship: Censorship in A Streetcar Named Desire | LELE | Scoop.it
Yasmeen Diana C.'s insight:

An interesting aspect of Streetcar Named Desire that may affect the perception of Williams’ work is the time period in which it was created. The fact that the play was written and made into a movie during the 1940s means that the screenplay had to be adapted to fit certain criteria of the time. The play, if represented in a movie like it was originally written, would go against the rules enforced by the Picture Motion Promotion Code, which was in charge of rating and filtering the movies for the public. Although important scenes and aspects of the play were omitted or not properly touched on, such as Blanche getting raped by Stanley, Blanche being promiscuous and having a long term relationship with a gay man, “A Streetcar Named Desire" was risqué for its time, but proved to be what people wanted to see, in an time period where change was happening everywhere.

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Orwell: An Author in His Time

Orwell: An Author in His Time | LELE | Scoop.it
Yasmeen Diana C.'s insight:

George Orwell's novel 1984 was written as a type of warning for the western world about the risk of communism and by association the risk of a totalitarian regime ruling our societies. Winston Smith, the protagonist of the story, works for the Ministry of Truth in order to alter history as the government sees fit. This job entails not only changing certain dates or faking signatures of official documents, but erasing any historical evidence of somebody even existing or even creating a person who does not truly exist (for propaganda). This type of dictatorial rule can remind us of the way Stalin governed Soviet Russia. He, too, was absolutely ruthless when it came to anybody opposing his abundance of power in any way, whether it be a political opponent or somebody with influence over the people he sought to control. In order to cover up his many acts of violence and murder, he would "change history" by literally destroying and deleting any proof of their existence. Here, we can see pictures doctored by Soviet government. 

The two top pictures show Stalin addressing the Soviet troops in May 1920. In the first picture, we can see Trotsky, a political opponent Stalin had exiled and executed, entirely removed from the photo.

In the bottom image, Stalin is walking with the water commissar, Nikolai Yezhov, however he seems to be edited out of it after he had fallen from power (and been executed).

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Author In His Time: Brazil (1985)

Yasmeen Diana C.'s insight:

Brazil is a movie that was released in 1985. It is loosely adapted on Orwell's 1984. Although gruesomely graphic at some times, it is described as a "fantasy/ satire on bureaucratic society" as well as a "dystopian satire". This movie shows the life of a man living in a society ruled by a controlling government, but the adaptation is not faithful to the book in terms of characters portrayed and specific plot lines. This movie was also produced with a comedic goal, it does indeed have a very slapstick aspect to it, in opposition to the more grim and hopeless tone of the novel.

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