Tennessee Williams’s Female Characters: Problems of Gender and Sexuality

Tennessee Williams’s Female Characters: Problems of Gender and Sexuality

Bachelor Thesis from the year 2017 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 2,0, RWTH Aachen University (Institut für Anglistik, Amerikanistik und Romanistik der RWTH Aachen), language: English, abstract: The goal of the paper is to identify features relating to homosexual identity, based on a characterization of Williams’s female characters. Among other studies, Tennessee Williams’s work has commonly been researched from a gay study perspective by literary scholars and queer theorists. The motive for that was mostly Williams’s own homosexuality and the stigma that surrounded the issue around the time he published his most famous pieces. He has written plays which explicitly involve the topic of homosexuality, as the eminent Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, but most of his work does not embrace homosexuality precisely. Nevertheless, on the grounds that literary studies is fairly limitless, for literature provides many different fields for analyses, it is possible to involve literary pieces into the field of gay studies, even though it initially does not specify the matter. The arguably most interesting element in Tennessee Williams’s drama are his characters, many of whom seem to share similar characteristics as struggling individuals. Analyzing the fictional characters with regard to gay writing could help find a possible pattern, draw conclusions about the influence of Williams’s personality, and thus, support the assumption that homosexuality is integrated in his plays. Gender is also fundamental for an approach based on sexuality. Taking that into consideration, below, the focus will be on Williams’s female characters, especially on the protagonists Laura Wingfield from The Glass Menagerie and Blanche DuBois from A Streetcar Named Desire. These women are not necessarily gay themselves; in the plays, there is no clear evidence about them being sexually or romantically attracted to the same sex. Instead, sexuality is a broad concept with more meanings attached to it, which will further be discussed in the third chapter.

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Publisher GRIN Verlag
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ISBN 3346371840
Pages 35 pages
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