Yes, Master!

         The 1951 film A Streetcar Named Desire, based on Tennessee Williams' 1947 play and directed by Elia Kazan, highlighted several aspects of male domination. Throughout the film, the male counterpart is constantly dominating the female counterpart. I found myself appalled at some of the phrases uttered and actions of Stanley.

         To begin, I will examine Stanley, who is played by the once young and highly attractive Marlon Brando. Stanley is a man's man in this film. He bowls; and of course he is captain of his bowling team; he plays poker; he picks fights; he sweats; he drinks heavily; and he smokes cigarettes.

         Stanley shows "true" manhood early in film when Blanche, played by Vivien Leigh, decides to listen to some music during his precious poker game. Stanley proceeds to yell and demand the music be turned off. Of course, Blanche is trying to seduce Mitch, portrayed by Karl Malden, and does not comply with Stanley's demand. Stanley then has had enough and storms into the other room, turning the radio off. But Stanley's rage has just begun. He then proceeds to throw the radio out the window and then attack his pregnant wife, Stella, played by Kim Hunter. Stella and Blanche escape to the neighbors and Stanley then attacks his poker buddies. After Stanley realizes what he has done, he begs for Stella to return to him. He has a temper tantrum in the street, declaring his love and his sincere apology to Stella. Of course, Stella succumbs to his wishes and returns to Stanley.

         Another incident occurs during the birthday dinner for Blanche. Stanley is in rare form tonight because he is tired of Blanche and her lies. Stanley begins the evening by declaring that he is the king around here and will not take orders from Stella. He then throws his dishes on the floor after he has been insulted by Stella. As the night wears on, Stella goes into labor; and Stanley returns home to find a distraught and vulnerable Blanche. Stanley and Blanche continue their previous argument, and he tosses her around some. He then gets out his silk pajamas for special occasions, alluding to his intentions. Stanley then rapes Blanche, who takes a turn for the worst after her experience. Later, when he is questioned about hurting Blanche, he insists that he had never laid a hand on her.

         I compare Stanley to a master because he wants a woman to serve him. He treats both the women in his life as objects to meet his needs and desires. Stanley and his pranks of manhood kept me engaged in the film.

Sarah Powell

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