Masculinity is a prominent theme in this play. Scene 3 both introduces and raises questions about the masculinity of different characters, and how such a trait affects female characters in the play.
- Van Gogh’s billiard-parlour at night — contrast to Blanche (white)
- Raw colors stand out + are dominating unlike Blanche, who is white-washed
- Stanley’s general rudeness etc…
- talking to Mitch: imperatives used, ordering him around
- Shows he’s the alpha male, dominating but in a rude way
- ‘Fix you a sugar-tit’ — slang for woman, sexist, and ’whacks’ Stella’s thigh
- takes two men to hold him back when he was beating Stella up
- Mitch is a softer guy
- ‘But I’ll be alone when she’s gone.’ Shows his need for companion in a platonic, non-romantic/non-sexual way which is what we see is lacking with Stanley.
- Stage directions: ‘with awkward courtesy’ — shows his nervousness, as if he doesn’t know how to act around women. Shows naivety but also means he sees women as more than items for the fulfillment of desire, sees women as equals
- Melancholic music stops when he appears in the ending — sort of a soothing presence
- Blanche still asking about her appearance
- ‘Please don’t get up’; Blanche expected basic manners from gentlemen, shows the contrasting cultures of the two people
- ‘Slipped on the dark red satin wrapper’ — always puts in on when she’s flirting. Red = seductive
- Lies about her alcoholism to Mitch, nervous — shows she likes him?
- Moths are usually attracted to light but she seems to repel it? Living in a distorted reality
- The music ‘Paper Doll’ shows a man’s regret that his wife left him. Friends then mention that it’s not the first time this violence has occurred — to audience, probably shocking information. Stella returns to Stanley —> hopeless romantic, blinded.
- Stanley kneeling + crying, shows he needs a ‘mother figure’, being babied. Shows weakness so Stella would take him back, manipulative.
- Both scenes end with Blanche needing assistance and guidance
What makes Stanley masculine?
- Physically, Stanley is fit.
- Less emotional — can’t be moved
- Language — swearing, crass
- Hosts poker party — dominates his peers and women. In charge, authoritative.
- Action towards Stella
- Slapping her thighs: objectifies her, as if marking his territory. Alpha-like
What emasculates him?
- Drinking — can’t
- Needs babying
- Shouting for Stella
Is Mitch more/less of a ‘man’ than Stanley?
- Takes care of his mother
- Concerned about Blanche’s well-being
- More emotional