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 Week Three: Social Darwinism

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PostSubject: Week Three: Social Darwinism   Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:11 am

FOR WEDNESDAY'S LESSON

Social Darwinism is a term used for various late nineteenth century ideologies which, while often contradictory, exploited ideas of survival of the fittest It especially refers to notions of struggle for existence being used to justify social policies which show no sympathy for those unable to support themselves. While the most prominent form of such views stressed competition between individuals in capitalism, it is also associated with ideas of struggle between national or racial groups. ‘… in Blanche, the aristocratic but bourgeoisie Old South has fallen victim to the natural evolution (some say revolution) of the rise of the proletariat.’ These critics find Williams writing a play based on Darwinian natural selection: Blanche and Stanley are two opposing animals striving for survival of their kind, with Stella as the prize. Deborah Burks says the play is “less a struggle between Good and Evil” and more a “Social Darwinist struggle for survival between two ´species´ of human being”

Questions to help: Do we sympathize with Stanley and see Blanche as an invading force? Does Stanley have to defend himself? What are their class differences? Who eventually ‘wins’ and why?

Write a two paragraph argument that supports the view Streetcar is about survival of the fittest.

In class we will discuss the opposing idea that the characters are individuals. In this task your aim is support the view that they express social types. Similar to what we discussed regarding apollonian archetypes and Stanley, however more to do with social groups (rich, poor, old world, new world) that individual types (passionate, reasoned etc).
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Nighthawk Campero

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PostSubject: Re: Week Three: Social Darwinism   Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:54 pm

Do we sympathize with Stanley and see Blanche as an invading force?

At a first glance I would definitely agree, but as the play progresses we can see they are both as invading forces and sympathize with both. At the beginning I think Williams wants us to have the impression that Blanche is invading Stanley's happy life with Stella. Stanley and Stella are shown as a happy couple, have no apparent issues and they both start with S. Meanwhile Blanche is introduced with clear distinction from the enviroment where the play takes action. Although she is dressed in white and represents purity, she creates some animosity by being to extravagant in a neighborhood that is clearly poor.

Does Stanley have to defend himself?

He might not defend himself directly against Blanche because she never invades directly on his territory. But he surely takes some measures against her; he finds out about her past, tries tries to uncover her lies. It seems that Stanley's problems with Blanche were against her, they were against her being with Stella or being a bad influence for her. That is why every time Stanley "defends" he does by trying to convince Stella of the ugly side of Blanche.

What are their class differences?

If we analyze closely we can realize Stanley and Blanche have a wealth difference, except perhaps clothes and jewelery. Their main difference is the way they were raised and how they have turned into a strong man and a fragile, almost lunatic woman. I think this is because one is in his enviroment while Blanche has lost hers and is trying to adapt to a poorer way of life. This relates closely to Social Darwinism's concept of survival of the fittest.

Who eventually ‘wins’ and why?

For me Stanley clearly wins. Especially from the point of view that Stella is the prize; Stanley is the one that ends up with her and Blanche is sent to a mental hospital. Is he the good character? Did he deserve to win? Did Blanche deserve to win then? My response to these questions is no. This is shows us also the Darwinist way of looking at it, is not the best or the one who more deserves it that wins; it is the fittest.
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PostSubject: Re: Week Three: Social Darwinism   Thu Nov 11, 2010 9:32 am

Do we sympathize with Stanley and see Blanche as an invading force?

At the start of the play we clearly sympathize with Stanley, Blanche invades his home and seems as she wants to dominate the place. it seems as if Stella's marriage gets worse with the presence of Blanche, making it a clear example of her being an invading force. Also Williams makes the audience to dislike Blanche because of its criticism to Stellas home. At first we want Stanley to be with Stella. We sympathize with his attitude.

Does Stanley have to defend himself?

Stanley is a strong character so defend is a wide term. He does not defend himself directly, but he tries to defend his home and marriage. By this I mean he tries to know the truth about Blanche so she doesnt influence Stellas feelings towards him.

What are their class differences?

Stanley and Balnche clearly come from different backgrounds, they were raise different and grew on different places. thanks to this Stanley became a strong man while Stella is fragile. this can be explaines because of her loosing his home. Since Blanche has to adapt to Stanley home we can relate this to Darwin's concept of survival of the fittest.

Who eventually ‘wins’ and why?

It is clearly that Stanley won the fight. This fight also relates to the survival of the fittest. Both wanted to win Stella, and Stanley achieves this. Blanche also looses because she isnt able to adapt to the life that Stella lives with Stanley. Blanche is reflected at the end of the play as the most fragile character reflecting its loss. Not only she doesnt stay with Stella, but she is also sent to a mental hospital
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PostSubject: Re: Week Three: Social Darwinism   Thu Nov 11, 2010 7:05 pm

At the very beggining, when we are introduced to Stanley, Stella and Blanche, we clearly place ourselves in a poor neighbourhood. We see the first two as a normal couple and the integration of Blanche at their home heavily contrast certain ideas, such as money, attitude, etc. We may sympathize with Stanley if we compare him to Blanche's normal environment, which is more optimum for anyone. However while time passes, we notice Stanley has a strong character and sympathy seemes to disapear in us. We don't appreciate him defending himself, nonetheless we see him defending in some way her wife Stella, by telling her negative rumours about Blanche.

Class differences deal with the idea of the Social Darwinist concept of survival of the fittest. We get positive data to an extent, in wealth terms, of Blanche, except of the loss of Belle Reve. However she is in better economic conditions than Stanley and her sister Stella.
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Christian H



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PostSubject: Re: Week Three: Social Darwinism   Thu Nov 11, 2010 7:20 pm

Do we sympathize with Stanley and see Blanche as an invading force?

In the start of the play we definitely receive the impression of Stanley being a happy man; therefore we sympathize with him, and see the arrival of Blanche as and invasion that has come to make things bad. Our view of Blanche doesn’t change much through the play, but on the other hand we sympathize less with Stanley as the play develops, being the rape the culmination which make us to feel disgust for him.

Does Stanley have to defend himself?

Stanley acts as an animal defending his territory against an intruder who is Blanche. Blanche has a flirting personality that threats him, so he needs to defend in some way. She has come to destroy the previous order of harmony and Stanley can’t stand this and needs to take actions, to vanish her. He represents an alpha male, and alpha males must have territorial behavior.

What are their class differences?

Blanche comes from the old French aristocracy, the rich class, meanwhile Stanley comes from the working class of proletariats; in other words the come from different habitats, they are strangers. This contrast creates inevitable tension, conflict that makes their coexistence impossible.

Who eventually ‘wins’ and why?

Stanley ends winning the battle, as we could have anticipated. The notorious difference in force and authority ends making Blanche collapse, she is too weak and Stanley too powerful. This can be seen in the rape, were Stanley abuses of his power and controls Blanche who can do anything about it; and when Stella needs to decide to whom she believes she chooses Stanley, making Blanche to go to a lunatic asylum which was Stanley’s goal, so he clearly wins.
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PostSubject: Kevin   Thu Nov 11, 2010 9:45 pm

Do we sympathize with Stanley and see Blanche as an invading force?

At the start of the play this is absoultely true because Stanley appears to be an inocent and immature, but nice big guy, while Blanche seems to intrude in Stella´s and Stanley´s marriage. As the play moves on we continue to see Blanche as an invading force becuase she clearly represents a major problem to the marriage and its flirty conduct is quite noticeable. On the other hand, our sympathy for Stanley vanishes completely after the poker night when he hits Stella. The audience sympathizes with Stanley at the beginning, but after the rape he is an absolute villain.


Does Stanley have to defend himself? What are their class differences? Who eventually ‘wins’ and why?
Stanley does defend himself, but I do not beleive that he needs to. There is an economic difference between his family and Blanche´s family, but this does not seem to be a major issue for Blanche. Stanley is the one who annoyed because of the fact he had a pourer childhood. He ends up raping Blanche as a sign of revanche in a way, but it is clear that there are no winners or losers in this story. The marriage, although it appears to continue, suffers an unfixable internal destruction. Blanche is raped. I do not beleive there are winners at the end of this play.

If humans were animals, it is evident that who appears to survive is Stanley according to Darwins theory of the survival of the fittest because he can take control over the others with his force. I do not beleive that this theort applies to humans because we are not animals. Feelings are what makes us unique and Stanley destroyed Blanche not only physically, but most importantly psychologically. Stanley is the one who is really dead inside.
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PostSubject: Re: Week Three: Social Darwinism   Fri Nov 12, 2010 8:55 am

Do we sympathize with Stanley and see Blanche as an invading force?

At the beginning of the play we see as Blanche as an invading force as she "invades" Stanley´s territory being very arrogant and looks down towards how Stella and he lives.So then as we see this attitude from Blanche as being very negative we sympathize with Stanley as a victim of Blanche, as we feel sorry that Stanley has to now live and put up with the arrogance of Blanche.Also to mention that Blanche starts to flirt with Stanley and puts him in an uncomfortable position.

Does Stanley have to defend himself? What are their class differences? Who eventually ‘wins’ and why?

Stanley defended himself but not in the proper way.He is too aggressive to the point he is rude and "animalistic" towards Blanche, he has to defend himself when Blanche is arrogant to him but not being on the defensive all the time when then it makes us feel sorry for Blanche and not for Stanley.Stanley also has some feelings towards the economic and social difference he and the DuBois experienced in their childhood as he came from a poor environment and the two sisters come from a beautiful and wealthy place.At the end we see that Stanley enventually "wins" as he rapes Blanche, nobody believes her (they see her as a maniac-crazy) and she goes out of the house to a mental house, so wee see that Stanley obtained his objective.


Wee see the point in Darwin´s theory about the survival of the fitest, as throughout all the play wee see how Stanley has this animalistic features and see him as a very strong man, and Blanche as a very weak woman as wee see her break thorughout the play. so yes the theopry is proved at the end of the play when wee see that Stanley "wins and survives".
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Camello Angustiado Zaror



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PostSubject: Homework   Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:28 pm

From the beginning of the play we sympathize with Stanley, as he is a happy man, and can clearly see how Blanche invades his territory. Blanche is arrogant towards Stella´s marriage with Stanley and she looks in less their living conditions from the moment she gets to the neighbourhood. Blanche is an "invation" to Stanleys territory as she tries to superpose him and creates problems in his marriage in order to destroy him. Stanley has to defend himself in order to defend his marriage, as he is the alpha male of the house. Blanche´s flirting and arrogance are not tolerated by Stanley, this leads to his selfdefence. Stanley, in his defence, has to be rude ant tough with Blanche in order to show who rules in his territory.

Blanche comes from the high class of the aristocracy, meanwhile Stanley comes from the lower class of the proletarians. This causes a problem because Stanley sees himself threatened by Blanche because she had a richer childhood and she likes to demonstrate it. We can see that Stanley wins as he is more poweful. He wins this powers by showing of the weakness of Blanche, as her past was awful. Stanleys victory is not clean as he raped Blanche. This victory had negative consecuences, as their are doubts and struggle in the marriage.

Darwins idea of the 'survival of the fitest' is shown throughout the play with this two characters as they are struggling and fighting with each other in order to rule the territory that sorrounds Stella. Stanley, the winner, seems to represent a stronger social group than Blanche.
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