Can I please get feedback for this Level 3 Written text essay and the grade it would be awarded? Thanks in advance
The most important texts are those that serve as a mirror to society, adeptly reflecting the intricacies of human nature and the complex dynamics of the world we inhabit. Through masterful storytelling, rich character portrayals, and thought-provoking themes, these works offer a penetrating lens through which readers can attain profound insights into the historical era they depict. Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), stands as a remarkable societal mirror, deftly capturing the nuances of class distinctions embodied by the characters of Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowalski, and the elaborate social hierarchy that shapes their interactions. Blanche’s deteriorating mental state and the societal stigmas surrounding it bring to the forefront the lack of empathy for the mentally ill. Additionally, the play challenges traditional gender roles through the characters of Stella and Stanley, shedding light on the societal expectations imposed upon women and men during the time. In essence, the play emerges as an extraordinary reflective prism, masterfully encapsulating and portraying diverse facets of the human experience, ultimately compelling us to confront the multifaceted challenges woven into the fabric of our collective existence.
Blanche and Stanley embody distinct societal strata within the narrative. Blanche personifies the fading remnants of an upper-class, symbolising privilege and cultural refinement. In contrast, Stanley represents the heterogenous working class, exemplifying the gritty realities of everyday life. Their contrasting standings, reflected through their mannerisms establish a palpable hierarchy that drives the clash of ideologies and power dynamics between them. In Scene 2, Stanley confronts Blanche about her condescending attitude and the contrasting worldviews between their families. During their conversation, Stanley challenges Blanche’s assumptions of superiority, attempting to expose her illusions and pierce through her refined facade. As the tension escalates, Stanley remarks, “The Kowalskis and the DuBois have different notions.” He immediately encapsulates the fundamental disparity between their families and their conflicting perspectives on life, social status, and values. It serves as a direct challenge to Blanche’s beliefs of superiority and entitlement. The scene represents a pivotal moment in the play, as it marks the beginning of the intense conflict between Blanche and Stanley. Stanley’s comment serves as a verbal confrontation, exposing the social divide and hinting at the deep-rooted clash between their respective worlds. Later, in Scene 3 Stanley confronts Blanche about her initial perception of him. During their heated argument, Stanley addresses Blanche’s condescending attitude towards him and asserts his own identity - “Listen, baby when we first met - you and me - you thought I was common.” This highlights the power dynamics at play and challenges Blanche’s sense of superiority. It reveals Stanley’s awareness of the class divide between them and serves as a point of contention in their relationship. Williams seeks to challenge traditional notions of class and dismantle the idealised image of the Southern aristocracy. By juxtaposing Blanche’s fading elegance with Stanley’s raw masculinity and working-class persona, he highlights the societal shifts taking place in the mid-20th century of America. Social hierarchy persists today, shaping power dynamics, opportunities, and resource allocation; income inequality and wealth disparities reinforce privilege among the wealthiest while marginalised communities face systemic barriers, perpetuating inequality. As such, the clash between the Kowalskis and the DuBois illuminates the tension between tradition and progress, highlighting the conflict between past ideals and the emerging realities of the modern world.
The relationship between Stella and Stanley is evident as Stanley embodies potent masculine traits and asserts dominance over Stella, who conforms to the submissive role of a housewife. This dynamic reflects the societal expectations of the time, where men were expected to proclaim control and women conforming to subservience and femininity, reinforcing the significance of traditional gender roles in shaping their relationship. During Scene 4, Blanche expresses her disapproval of Stanley’s rough manners and uncouth habits. However, Stella defends Stanley and tries to normalise his behaviour by saying, “People have got to tolerate each other’s habits I guess.” Through Stella, Williams showcases the internal struggle faced by women in patriarchal societies, torn between loyalty to their partners and the desire for personal fulfilment. Stella’s willingness to endure and rationalise Stanley’s behaviour reveals the pervasive influence of societal pressures, urging women to prioritise harmony and conformity over individual agency. Stanley’s physicality is emphasised throughout the play, underscoring his sense of authority. From the way he carries himself to the way he interacts with others, Stanley exudes a sense of superiority that commands attention and respect, leaving little room for challenge or opposition. Stanley’s physicality is greatly emphasised, underscoring his sense of confidence. From his aggressive demeanour to his self-assured interactions with others, Stanley radiates a sense of superiority that demands attention and respect, leaving little room for challenge or opposition. This is evident in Scene 2 wherein Stanley confronts Stella about her Blanche’s interference in their lives by declaring, “I am the king around here, so don’t forget it!.” Stanley’s emphatic proclamation serves as a poignant manifestation of societal norms that dictate men to assume positions of control, thereby perpetuating traditional power structures. Moreover, it underscores the multifaceted nature of masculinity, which can be wielded as a means to assert authority and preserve societal order, ultimately marginalising women’s autonomy and impeding their agency. Patriarchy remains pertinent in contemporary society, as exemplified by the enduring gender wage gap, which reflects persistent power imbalances and limited opportunities for women compared to men. Through the exploration of gender dynamics and the consequences of patriarchal norms, Williams mirrors society by shedding light on the enduring power imbalances that still shape our lives.
Blanche’s mental state is characterised by a fragile equilibrium between reality and illusion. Her emotional instability and penchant for escaping into fantasies serve as coping mechanisms for the traumas she has endured including the loss of Belle Reve and the death of her former spouse Alan. Consequently, her psyche becomes increasingly vulnerable, leading to an unravelling of her emotional well-being. Mitch, a potential suitor, discovers the truth about Blanche’s stay at the Hotel Flamingo and her promiscuous behaviour, which shatters the illusion she has meticulously constructed. In Scene 9, Blanche’s admission of being “I was on the verge of lunacy” signifies the breaking point of her fragile mental state. The quote exemplifies the devastating consequences of living a life built upon illusions and falsehoods. Williams aims to expose the consequences of hiding from reality and the damaging effects of societal expectations on one’s psyche. He delves into the complexities of mental health, portraying the destructive impact of living a life entangled in lies and the importance of confronting painful truths. The lack of understanding displayed by the characters in the play reflects the broader societal attitudes of the time. Mental health issues were often stigmatised and misunderstood, leaving individuals like Blanche isolated and marginalised. Stanley embodies the lack of understanding as he questions her integrity and exacerbates her isolation. Stella’s loyalty to Stanley further isolates Blanche, while Mitch’s rejection represents society’s rigid expectations and inability to empathise. Scene 11 captures the poignant moment of Blanche’s realisation that her fragile grasp on reality and her desperate attempts to find solace in the kindness of others have ultimately led her to this heartbreaking moment of isolation and institutionalisation. Blanche’s words, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers,” are spoken with both resignation and desperation, as she acknowledges her reliance on the goodwill of unfamiliar individuals. Williams employs this quote to shed light on the plight of individuals grappling with mental health challenges. Through Blanche’s character, he aims to portray the devastating consequences of a society that fails to understand and support those suffering from mental illness. Today, mental illnesses are widely recognised as legitimate clinical disorders that warrant specialised treatment, shifting the perspective from institutionalisation to a more nuanced understanding surrounding mental health. Consequently, Blanche’s indictment illustrates the dire consequences of societal neglect and the urgent need for understanding towards individuals grappling with mental health challenges in society.
Blanche’s fragility reveals the oppressive power structure that develops between individuals in positions of authority throughout her conflict with Stanley. The entrenched patriarchy within Stella and Stanley’s relationship highlights the pervasive pressures faced by women to conform to male dominance, intensifying the complexities of gender inequality. These elements of the play provide an incisive reflection of the world we still inhabit, offering readers a perceptive portrayal of the daily struggles encountered by many individuals. Through its mirroring of society, A Streetcar Named Desire exemplifies the profound impact of texts that illuminate the societal challenges and injustices faced by individuals.