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What are Men vs Women in a Streetcar Named Desire

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A Streetcar Named Desire

What are Men vs Women in a Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Elia Kazan and based on Tennessee Williams’s award-winning play, initially debuted in 1951. A dramatic domestic drama replete with sex and violence. 

The tale shows a very unusual use of poker as both a plot device and a technique to illustrate one of the film’s themes, namely, the stark, conflict-causing contrasts that may occasionally exist between men and women.

A Streetcar Named Desire : One Scene Shows Early History of Poker

One scene in particular, coming relatively early in the film, well demonstrates how poker  especially during its early history was not only considered by some to be a game reserved for men, but also a ready context in which men fulfill cultural expectations about masculinity.

Williams’ play began with a different working title “The Gambling Night” and the completed version still includes several poker allusions, even down to the actors sipping “Jax” beer.

Poker Night was retained as the title of a pivotal scene early in the play and film, by which point we’ve already gotten to know the story’s three primary figures, Stanley Kowalski, his wife Stella (Kim Hunter), and her sister Blanche (Vivien Leigh). By then we’ve also come to recognize the disruption caused by Blanche coming to New Orleans to stay with the young couple.

A Streetcar Named Desire : Prominent Conflict

The most prominent conflict in A Streetcar Named Desire, however, is the ongoing one between men and women, something Blanche’s upsetting the balance of in the Kowalski household certainly brings to light. And the arrival of poker night happening shortly after Blanche’s arrival particularly underscores the contrast between the sexes the film intends to convey.

During the afternoon before the game, Blanche says to Stanley “I understand there’s to be a little card party here tonight, to which we ladies are cordially not invited.” “That’s right,” answers Stanley, wasting no words.

It’s obvious that the game represents something wholly off limits to the women. In fact, Stanley’s response suggests even talking about the game with Blanche is inappropriate. Stella understands the need for the men to be alone, and thus plans to take Blanche out for the evening. Before they leave, however, Blanche attempts a bit of flirting with Stanley, and when he resists Blanche responds with a back-handed compliment.

Blanche’s Sight

“I can’t imagine any witch of a woman casting a spell over you,” says Blanche. “That’s right,” responds Stanley, repeating his same terse reply from before. Undeterred, Blanche continues.

“You’re simple, straightforward, and honest. A little bit on the… uh… primitive side, I should say. The way to proceed a woman would have to…”

“She would have to lay her cards on the table,” Stanley says, abruptly halting her with a poker metaphor. Some shouting ensues, and their conversation-slash-argument ends without much resolution.

Cut to later that night. In the play, Williams’s stage directions unmistakably reveal his intention for the poker game to highlight the players’ masculinity.

Explaining how each of the actors are to wear colored shirts at A Streetcar Named Desire, Williams notes “they are men at the peak of their physical manhood, as coarse and direct and powerful as the primary colors” they are sporting.

While we can’t see the colors of the men’s shirts in the black-and-while film, we can certainly appreciate the other masculine notes being loudly sounded in the scene.

A Streetcar Named Desire : Repeated Action

From upstairs comes banging and yelling from the wife of one of the players, impatient with the noise the men are making and wishing for the game to end. She threatens to repeat an action she’s apparently done before to end their games  pour boiling water through cracks in the floor.

On A Streetcar Named Desire film, Stella and Blanche hover over the game momentarily while a hand being is dealt.

“Poker’s so fascinating!” Blanche says. “Could I kibbitz?” she asks while reaching down to peek at one of the player’s cards.

“You could not!” angrily yells Stanley while pushing her hand away. Not incidentally, Stanley has been losing, and soon he suggests the women should leave.

“How much longer is this game going to continue?” asks Stella. “Until we get ready to quit!” responds Stanley, giving his wife an aggressive slap on the backside when she is slow to exit.

The game continues while the women move to the neighboring room, the card playing having literally segregated the sexes. The sisters start to make noise, laughing and playing the radio, prompting Stanley is not unlike the wife upstairs to yell across for them to keep quiet.

A Streetcar Named Desire : Momentarily Talk

Eventually one of the players, Mitch (Karl Malden), leaves the game momentarily to talk with Blanche, with whom he’s instantly enchanted. Meanwhile the poker continues, and when it’s Stanley’s turn to call the game he announces Spit in the Ocean, a draw poker variant employing a community card.

Blanche eventually has the radio back on and begins dancing for Mitch. In the other room, a hand is concluding.

“Three bullets, mustache,” says Stanley to Pablo as he reaches for the money in the middle. “A straight, I gotcha!” yells back Pablo with a greedy grin as he grabs Stanley’s arm.

Incensed, Stanley gets up and races into the next room. There he grabs the radio and shockingly throws it through a closed window, the glass shattering in a loud explosion.

Stella responds in kind, rushing into the room where the men are sitting and pushing one of the players, the light above the table breaking in the process. An enraged Stanley then begins to beat his pregnant wife, the attack ending only after one of the men knocks him unconscious.

A Streetcar Named Desire : Stanley Point of View

There are a few possible reasons for Stanley’s outburst, including his well-founded suspicions that Blanche’s story about “losing” the DuBois family estate and being on a leave of absence from her job as a school teacher is untruthful. That’s an issue that will become more significant later in the film when her seduction of Mitch has further progressed.

But really here Stanley seems most upset at how the poker game an arena for “men to be men” on A Streetcar Named Desire perhaps not unlike the war from which he’s recently returned has been disturbed. It is almost as though that “manhood” Williams describes the players possessing has been somehow threatened or at least compromised by the women’s intrusion. Join situs judi slot online terpercaya and enjoy the convenience of gambling online

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