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Female Defiance Of A Patriarchy Society

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 2159 words Published: 5th May 2017

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Patriarchal can be defined as a social system where the roles of males are at the heart of social organization, and where also they hold authority over spouses, children, and property. Historically, the principle of patriarchy has been fundamental to the social, legal, political, and economic organization of Hebrew, Greek, Roman, Indian, and Chinese cultures, and has had a deep influence on modern civilization. (www.answers.com/topic/partriarchy) (Using your own words does not simply mean changing the occasional word in someone else’s definition – sorry to be blunt, but this would be enough to worry an examiner.)

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Biblically, in relation to the Christian faith God created Adam first and out of his rib he created Eve his wife, furthermore it’s stated in the bible that the head of every family is the father (male). Therefore everyone under that family i.e. wife and children must obey and submit to his authority regardless. However in modern society today, it is said to be fifty/fifty. Women are now allowed to do most of the jobs men do, e.g. many women are now recruited in the army, whereas back in the 1940s women weren’t allowed. Having said that, patriarchy is still popular in modern society in a modified way, i.e. men are still taking the most important roles in some big organizations. Even though most jobs are consider being too dangerous or too risky for women to participate in the environment, I believe that this idea about women’s safety is predominantly based on patriarchal. Reason for my statement is that if males can do those jobs without been in any serious danger, I believe that those risks which is said to be hazardous to women can be managed to make the working environment for women to work. (You have spent more than 10% of the essay not referring to either play! You can’t do this. You aren’t using historical context to illuminate your reading of the play.)

Empowerment and marginalization it’s said to be initially based on gender throughout history (ungrammatical). In both of the play, A Streetcar Named Desire and Homecoming do not challenge this idea, Tennessee Williams’ characters, mainly Stanley, Blanche, Mitch, Stella, and Harold Pinter’s characters Max, Sam, Teddy and Ruth adapted to the expected roles of men and women at the time both plays were written (I disagree with this totally – you don’t attempt to make a convincing case). Although World War Two provisionally allowed women a place in the working world, they were soon to be brushed off from such empowerment when the war came to an end, and were therefore returned to the domestic domain. (Using your own words does not simply mean changing the occasional word in someone else’s writing.)

The characters in A Streetcar Name Desire and that of Homecoming are close visual of the social historical interpretation as well as direct links to Williams’ and Harold Pinter’s own life, seen in characters such as Stanley and Blanche, Max and Ruth who are closely linked to both of the writers’ abusive fathers and mentally ill sister. (Pinter didn’t have a mentally ill sister. You are simply changing someone else’s words very slightly.)

The power struggle between Stanley and Blanche, and that of Max’s in The Homecoming express possessive view about gender, such as the crude nature, the hostility and viciousness of the masculine over the vulnerability and physicality of the feminine.

In the 1940s during the time when the play was set, men were dominating women and all the rules/laws were set by the men, and therefore whatever was said by them was what the women were supposed to follow. Williams elaborated this in A Streetcar Named Desire as the main leading character in the play. Stanley Kowalski a highly physical character is considered to be the most brutal, with animal like traits: one of the best relationships to illustrate his brutality is the one between him and his wife Stella. He treats her badly and he is also impolite to her in front of other people, he only acts kindly to her when he wants to make love to her. One example of his brutality was clearly shown in scene three at the poker game, when Stella asked “How much longer is this game going to continue?” he replied “Till we get ready to quit” this shows the superiority of Stanley’s masculine dominance and his impoliteness towards his wife Stella. “Why don’t you women go up and sit with Eunice?” Stella replied “Because it is nearly 2:30”, this clearly indicates that back in the 1940s women had no say whatever their husbands said they were meant to cooperate with it.

Shortly after this incident during the same scene, Blanche turned on the radio; his endless brutality was shown again when he stormed through the portieres into the bedroom, crossed the table and snatched the small white radio off the table and threw it outside the window. Stella reacted to his aggressive behavior by saying “drunk, drunk animal thing, you”, again Stanley’s action proved once more that whatever he said or did Stella must abide by it. Therefore by Stella saying those words which angered Stanley, results in him beating her up. Another example of Stanley’s brutality was shown at the near end of the play when the readers discover he had raped Blanche, this was the most cruel and brutal act he committed during the play. (http://www.megaessays.com/essay_search.html)

Whereas in The Homecoming the family is not whole without a woman, at the same time they viewed women poorly. They either see women as “Bitches” or “whores.” Even when Max reminisces about his deceased wife, Jessie’s good qualities, he is still sexist and insulting. The family is not also normal, and therefore none of the relationships are, and neither is Ruth’s eventual domination. Ruth is all-powerful in the play, and the men recognize their weaknesses and allow her to take over. Ultimately, however, it is Ruth that exerts her power over all the men, when she consents to stay with them and be their “mother/lover”. As Jessie, Ruth slips quite easily into her place. “It is clear the boys have little power in the family, and they do not exert what they have. Pinter quickly introduces us to the family member, a group whose typical interaction is filled with sarcasm and hostility. When Max asks Lenny, a pimp, for the newspaper and Lenny does not respond in kind, Max lifts his walking stick and points at him, “Don’t you talk to me like that. I’m warning you” Even though Max’s threats are often and empty; this sets the stage for the dynamics of violence and sarcasm that represent family relations. The entire family is twisted, and so are their relationships with each other. Ruth’s power is demonstrated repeatedly throughout the play. Everyone is trying to become whole again, but to become whole men, they need a woman.

In A Streetcar Named Desire, early in life, Blanche had married a young boy who had a softness and tenderness, by unexpectedly, entering a room, she found him in compromising situation with an older man. They were out that night, dancing and a Polka were playing in the middle of the dance. Blanche told her young husband that he disgusted her. This deliberate act of cruelty on Blanche’s part caused her young husband to commit suicide. Earlier, in her life her love had been like a “blinding light,” and since that night Blanche has never had a light stronger than a dim candle. Immediately following this events, Blanche was subjected to a series of deaths in her family and the ultimate loss of the ancestral home. The deaths were ugly, slow and tortuous; they illustrated the ugliness and brutality of life.

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For Blanche to escape from all these brutalities and loneness created by her young husband’s death, she turned to alcohol and sexual promiscuity: the alcohol helped her to forget, when troubled, the dance tune that was playing that night when Allan committed suicide haunts her until she drinks enough so as to hear the shot which then signals the end of the music. She also gives herself to men for other reasons; she feels that she had failed her young husband in some way. Therefore, she tries to alleviate her guilt by giving herself at random to other young men, and by sleeping with others, she is trying to fill the void left by Allan’s death. “…an intimacy with strangers was all I seemed able to fill my empty heart with….” And she was particularly drawn to very young men who would remind her of her young husband. During these years of promiscuity; Blanche has never been able to find anyone to fill the emptiness.

Whereas Ruth in Homecoming, she appears to defeat the men’s power, but not with violence but with her sexuality and intelligence which is the way in which she takes control of the house. Also she undermines the strengths of the family through her sexuality and alert mind which both serve to overpower the rough plans and ideas of the men. She is acting this way in England as she has found a release from the boring life of America, where she had three sons and she is also the wife of a university lecturer. This visit released her from the dull domination of Teddy; this might not be domination in more physical form that Teddy’s father and brothers use. But the assumption that Ruth has all that she needs or wants in life, without asking her there is no way out for her until they came to England and her escape into a world where she can for once dominate in her own way becomes gradually apparent through her resistance of Teddy’s ideas of them returning back to America. Despite Teddy’s position as a teacher, he is unable to answer a question posed by Lenny! “Well for instance, take a table. Philosophically speaking what is it?” he replied “A table” until Ruth intervenes but her answer reveals little intellectual power, it is another reminder of her sexual power, her context for the question in her body and underwear, rather than the table that Lenny used as his example, even though Teddy is intelligent, he is defeated. Ruth’s suggested intelligence becomes a vehicle for her sexual power that distracts attention from Teddy; her actions have defeated her husband as he makes no attempt to stop what she doing.

Ruth’s role as a mother and wife is seemingly forgotten as she abandons family life to establish herself as a prostitute for her husband’s family; she holds the power of mystery and intrigue over the men. Her air of mystery is an element of what allows her to control the men, as she is both a mother and a whore, she satisfies the fantasy that is apparently desired by Lenny as he questions his father about the night he was conceived. Ruth’s position as a mother is shown through her cooking abilities and the need for attention from her “children”, (the men) her position at the head of the family makes her powerful, but she does not gain her position through violence, in contrast her movements are more subtle and unpredictable.

In conclusion, due to the lost of her young husband, Blanche turn to bad drinking habit and a sexual behavior, she is an aging south woman and she has a wardrobe of showy but cheap evening clothes. She is insecure, dislocated individual who lives in a state of perpetual panic about her fading beauty, she appear at first as a woman who know no indignity, her false pretend is not simply snobbery, however it constitutes a calculated attempt to make herself appear attractive to new men, she depends on male sexual admiration for her sense of self-esteem, as a result she often crumble for passion. Therefore she believe that by marrying will help her escape poverty and the bad reputation that hunt her, she never actually achieved it, she was left with no realistic possibility of future happiness. Mitch is her only chance for contentment even though he is far from her ideal, Stanley’s relentless persecution of her foils her pursuit of Mitch as well as her attempts to shield herself from the hash truth. Whereas Stanley succeeds in destroying Blanche’s reputation and also illustrated the patriarchy society by dominating his household.

Comparing this to the Homecoming Max demonstrated the patriarchy society, even though his dominant was not as superior as that of Stanley’s in a streetcar named desire, all of words where empty treats as he was physically unable to act on his proceeding words of treats, Moreover Ruth was able to withstood the patriarchy by dominating the men in homecoming through her sexuality.


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