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Two Victims: An Analysis of the Two Protagonists Stanley and Blanche in a Streetcar Named Desire

Author DiYingYing
Tutor ZhangJianGuo
School Zhengzhou University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords victims conventional concepts contemporary society Stanley Kowalski Blanche DuBois
Type Master's thesis
Year 2008
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This thesis focuses on the analysis of the two protagonists in A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams—Stanley Kowalski and Blanche DuBois, who, the author of the thesis thinks, are two victims. It consists of three chapters, plus Introduction and Conclusion.The Introduction gives a brief review of the playwright’s life experiences, their influence on most of his works and the characters within, and the critics’ comments concerned. His superior mastery and deep insight into various types of characters, especially women ones, inspires and intrigues the author of this thesis to conduct a study of the two typical protagonists, Stanley Kowalski and Blanche DuBois, in A Streetcar Named Desire.Chapter One examines Tennessee Williams’s androgynous trait, three influential women in his life and his artistic sensitivity which enable him to draw women characters exceedingly well. Besides, as a man, the playwright unquestionably has the ability to depict men characters no worse than women ones. The examination lays the foundation for the comparatively profound analysis of the playwright’s intention of the depiction of the two victims in A Streetcar Named Desire.Albeit most scholars tend to consider Stanley Kowalski as a murderer, Chapter Two probes the weaknesses of Stanley’s character, indicating that, in fact, Stanley is also the victim, that of American conventional concepts such as masculinity and patriarchy, and contemporary society.The tragedy of Blanche DuBois, ever called "a tiger moth lady", is discussed in Chapter Three. Her disharmony with cruel reality, her illusion of life and her clash with the Stanleys lead into her tragedy; she eventually become victimized by men, masculinity, patriarchy and the harsh reality.Finally, the author of the thesis comes to the conclusion: Whether the depiction of Stanley or that of Blanche, they both reveal the voices of Tennessee Williams himself-both men and women are the victims of American conventional concepts. Meanwhile, Williams expects to deliver the message that people should keep sober-minded and sensitive to the reality, or the harsh society, and be timely aware of the harm of the conventional concepts still existent after WWII; otherwise, people will turn out to be victims just as Stanley and Blanche are.

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