A streetcar named desire (Novel for English work)


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A streetcar named desire (Novel for English work)

  1. 1. A Streetcar Named Desire By Tennessee Williams 1
  2. 2. Lectures by Joha-Mari Kück 2
  3. 3. Lecture One 3
  4. 4. A little about the man himself … • Born Thomas Lanier Williams III (23 March, 1911 – 25 February, 1983), better known by the pen name Tennessee Williams, was a major American playwright and one of the prominent playwrights of the twentieth century. • The name "Tennessee" was a name given to him by college friends because of his southern accent and his father's background in Tennessee. • Genre critics maintain that Williams writes in the Southern Gothic style. 4
  5. 5. • He was much inspired by his troubled family background: his mother (of genteel Southern stock) encouraged him to use his imagination, but smothered him at times. • His father, a travelling shoe salesman, grew increasingly abusive as his children got older. His brother, Dakin, was favoured by his father. His sister, Rose, to whom he was closest, was a figure of tragedy herself. She influenced Tennessee in many ways. • She was a slim beauty who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and spent most of her adult life in mental hospitals. After various unsuccessful attempts at therapy, she became paranoid. • Her parents eventually allowed a prefrontal lobotomy in an effort to treat her. The operation, performed in 1943, in Washington, D.C., went badly, and Rose remained incapacitated for the rest of her life. 5
  6. 6. • Rose's failed lobotomy was a hard blow to Williams, who never forgave his parents for allowing the operation. It may have been one of the factors that drove him to alcoholism. • The common ‘mad heroine’ theme that appears in many of his plays may have been influenced by his sister. • It would appear that many of his fictional characters bear a close resemblance to those of his family. 6
  7. 7. Some Terms and Terminology Explained … • Lobotomy • LOBOTOMY (from the Greek lobos, meaning lobes of the brain, and tomos, meaning cut) is a psychosurgical procedure in which the connections the prefrontal cortex and underlying structures are severed, or the frontal cortical tissue is destroyed, the theory being that this leads to the uncoupling of the brain's emotional centres and the seat of intellect (in the subcortical structures and the frontal cortex, respectively). 7
  8. 8. Some Terms and Terminology Explained … • Lobotomy • The lobotomy was first performed on humans in the 1890s. About half a century later, it was being touted by some as a miracle cure for mental illness, and its use became widespread; during its heyday in the 1940s and '50s, the lobotomy was performed on some 40,000 patients in the United States, and on around 10,000 in Western Europe. • http://scienceblogs.com/neurop hilosophy/2007/07/inventing_th e_lobotomy.php • The procedure became popular because there was no alternative, and because it was seen to alleviate several social crises: overcrowding in psychiatric institutions, and the increasing cost of caring for mentally ill patients. • The operations produced mixed results. In some cases, there were improvements in behaviour; in others, there was no noticeable difference; and in yet others, the symptoms being treated became markedly worse. 8
  9. 9. Some Terms and Terminology Explained … • Travelling Salesman • A travelling salesman is a travelling vendor of goods. 9
  10. 10. And now, ladies and gentlemen, the American South … • The Southern United States or the South constitutes a distinctive region covering a large portion of the United States. • Due to the region's unique cultural and historic heritage, including the doctrine of states' rights, the institution of slavery and the legacy of the American Civil War, the South has developed its own customs, literature, musical styles (such as country music and jazz, rock 'n' roll and blues), and cuisine. 10
  11. 11. • It was originally settled by British colonialists. • In the 1700s, large number of African slaves were brought to the South to work on the large plantations established there. • The export agriculture consists of tobacco, rice, and indigo. Cotton became dominant after 1800. The explosion of cotton cultivation made the "peculiar institution" of slavery an integral part of the South's early 19th century economy. • The American Civil War (1861–1865) was a sectional conflict in the United States between the federal government (the "Union") and 11 Southern slave states (the “Confederates”) that declared their secession and formed the Confederate States of America, led by President Jefferson Davis. 11
  12. 12. • The "Union", led by President Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party, opposed expansion of slavery and rejected any right of secession. • In 1865 the Confederacy collapsed as Lee surrendered and the slaves were freed. • The causes of the war, the reasons for the outcome, and even the name of the war itself, are subjects of lingering controversy, even today. The main results of the war were the restoration and strengthening of the Union, and the end of slavery in the United States. • The existence of slavery is considered to be the dominant cause for the war between the North and the South. 12
  13. 13. Some Terms and Terminology Explained … • • • • • • • • The Puritans The collective name for the British settlers who colonised America. The Puritans were a group of people who grew discontent in the Church of England and worked towards religious, moral and societal reforms. The writings and ideas of John Calvin, a leader in the Reformation, gave rise to Protestantism and were pivotal to the Christian revolt. They contended that The Church of England had become a product of political struggles and man-made doctrines. The Puritans were one branch of dissenters who decided that the Church of England was beyond reform. Escaping persecution from church leadership and the King, they came to America. The Puritans believed that the Bible was God's true law, and that it 13 provided a plan for living.
  14. 14. Some Terms and Terminology Explained … • The Puritans • The established church of the day described access to God as monastic and possible only within the confines of ‘church authority’. • Puritans stripped away the traditional trappings and formalities of Christianity which had been slowly building throughout the previous 1500 years. • Theirs was an attempt to ‘purify’ the church and their own lives. 14
  15. 15. Some Terms and Terminology Explained • • • • • The Puritans Most of the Puritans settled in the New England area. Religious exclusiveness was the foremost principle of their society. The spiritual beliefs that they held were strong. This strength held over to include community laws and customs. Since God was at the forefront of their minds, He was to motivate all of their actions. This premise worked both for them and against them. 15
  16. 16. Some Terms and Terminology Explained … • • • • • The Puritans The common unity strengthened the community. In a foreign land surrounded with the hardships of pioneer life, their spiritual bond made them sympathetic to each other's needs. Their overall survival techniques permeated the colonies and on the whole made them more successful in several areas beyond that of the colonies established to their south. Their interpretation of scriptures was a harsh one. They emphasized a redemptive piety. In principle, they emphasized conversion and not repression. Conversion was a rejection of the ‘worldliness’ of society and a strict adherence to Biblical principles. 16
  17. 17. Some Terms and Terminology Explained … • The Puritans • While repression was not encouraged in principle, it was evident in their actions. God could forgive anything, but man could forgive only by seeing a change in behavior. • Actions spoke louder than words, so actions had to be constantly controlled. • http://www.nd.edu/~rbarger/ww w7/puritans.html 17
  18. 18. Some Terms and Terminology Explained … • Plantations • A plantation is a large farm or land under single control or ownership, primarily those used for agriculture. The term is used for overseas lands in regions colonized by various Western countries, and for large farms in the Southern US prior to the US Civil War. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/ What_is_a_plantation 18
  19. 19. Some Terms and Terminology Explained … • Plantations • Farms that grows only one crop – such as tobacco, sugar or cotton. • Slaves were used to do all of the hard work whilst the white owners collected the profits. 19
  20. 20. Some Terms and Terminology Explained … 20
  21. 21. Some Terms and Terminology Explained … A plantation house. The home of slaves. 21
  22. 22. Some Terms and Terminology Explained … • Slavery • From the beginnings of slavery in British North America around 1619, when a Dutch ship brought 20 enslaved Africans to the Virginia colony at Jamestown, nearly 240 years passed until the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution officially ended slavery in 1865. • On the eve of the American Civil War approximately 4 million enslaved African Americans lived in the southern region of the United States of America. 22
  23. 23. Some Terms and Terminology Explained … • Slavery • The vast majority worked as plantation slaves in the production of cotton, sugar, tobacco, and rice. • Very few of these enslaved people were African born principally because the importation of enslaved Africans to the United States officially ended in 1808, although thousands were smuggled into the nation illegally in the 50 years following the ban on the international trade. 23
  24. 24. Some Terms and Terminology Explained … • Slavery • These enslaved people were the descendants of 12 to 13 million African forbearers ripped from their homes and forcibly transported to the Americas in a massive slave trade dating from the 1400s. • Most of these people, if they survived the brutal passages from Africa, ended up in the Caribbean (West Indies) or in South and Central America. Brazil alone imported around five million enslaved Africans. http://www.slaveryinamerica.org/ history/hs_es_overview.htm 24
  25. 25. Some Terms and Terminology Explained … • The American Civil War. • Taking place between 1861 and 1865, the American Civil War would be spawned by and help influence the Industrial Revolution in the United States. • This war saw Southern State secede from the United States to form the Confederate States of America. 25
  26. 26. Some Terms and Terminology Explained … • The American Civil War. • The abolishment of slavery in the North combined with technological advancements, like the cotton gin, made slavery a more profitable and necessary fact of life in the South. • The cotton gin made plantations more profitable due to the increased speed of processing cotton, so the more slaves that were available, the more cotton could be produced during a day. • http://industrialrevolutioninamerica.co m/863/events/22766/the-americancivil-war.html 26
  27. 27. Some Terms and Terminology Explained … • The American Civil War. • The Civil War was far too large to blame on a few simple factors. • Leading to the causes of the war were a number of factors, one of the largest being slavery. Yet slavery cannot be blamed for it either. • States Rights were the direct cause of the war, the secession of states, and the direct start of gunfire at Fort Sumter. 27
  28. 28. Some Terms and Terminology Explained … • The American Civil War. • At the beginning of 1860, over four million men, women, and children, one out of every seven people in the United States were slaves. • The slaves of the southern plantations were frequently abused and overworked for the benefit of the plantation owner. • Slaves remained in demand due to the increased productivity introduced by the cotton gin. 28
  29. 29. Some Terms and Terminology Explained … • The American Civil War. • Due to this increased demand, the number of slaves dramatically increased. • Although the number of slaves in the south greatly outnumbered that of slave owners, the imbalance was maintained by harsh working conditions, and poverty stricken living environments. • Slaves were frequently beaten, and neglected, often infected and died of dysentery, worms, and other diseases spurred by unsanitary living conditions. 29
  30. 30. Some Terms and Terminology Explained … • The American Civil War. • In certain circumstances, slaves were treated with occasional dignity by their owners, but for the most part they were neglected and treated with severe harshness. • “Those who deny freedom of others do not deserve it not for themselves, and under a just god cannot long retain it”, Abraham Lincoln. 30
  31. 31. Some Terms and Terminology Explained … • The American Civil War. • The south feared that the north would abolish slavery, and the north was afraid it would spread westward into the newly established states. • Soon, anti-slavery leaders were becoming active and loud. • John Brown, with his militaristic abolitionist views started a small revolt in Harpers Ferry, where he was soon tried and hanged for treason. • Although a failure throughout life, his success was in his dying cause that sparked new disturbance, and violence over slavery. • Others with Brown's cause took up the torch, and lit the fire for a country split. • During the mid eighteen hundreds, the United States government took up an aggressive plan to industrialize the nation, and created numerous government sponsored programs. 31
  32. 32. Some Terms and Terminology Explained … • The American Civil War. • Although good in intentions, this gave rise to a number of new problems in the government. • These programs frequently infringed upon the rights of the State in which the conducted. • Thus this new industrialization was quickly rejected by those unfavorable to the new federalization. • Understandably, this program can be interpreted as an unmistakably terrible program. • If given unchecked expansion, this could lead to an all powerful dictatorship, limiting any democratic intervention at all. • Thus, the country was split over a number of reasons, but most of all slavery and state's rights, and thus a country was split, and a war for the Union began. http://library.thinkquest.org/3055/netscape/ 32
  33. 33. Southern Culture: • Southern culture has been and remains generally more socially conservative than that of the north. Due to the central role of agriculture in the antebellum economy, society remained stratified according to land ownership. (Antebellum means before or existing before the war, especially the American Civil War.) • Rural communities often developed strong attachment to their churches as the primary community institution. • The southern lifestyle, especially in the deep south, is often joked about. Southerners are often generally viewed as more laid back, and relaxed even in stressed situations. • That, of course, is a stereotype, and not always the case. But, traditionally, the southern lifestyle is viewed as slower paced when in more rural areas. 33
  34. 34. • The South has a strong literary history. Characteristics of southern literature including a focus on a common southern history, the significance of family, a sense of community and one's role within it, the community's dominating religion and the burden religion often brings, issues of racial tension, land and the promise it brings, and the use of southern dialect. • Perhaps the most famous southern writer is William Faulkner. • Other well-known Southern writers include Mark Twain (whose Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer are two of the most read books about the South) and Tennessee Williams. • Possibly the most famous southern novel of the 20th century is Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell, published in 1937. Another famous southern novel, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, won the Pulitzer Prize after it was published in 1960. 34