Show How the Writers in Texts of Your Choice Explore the Tension in Male-Female Relationships Between a Hankering for Emotional Security on the One Hand and Sexual Fulfilment on the Other Essay

Submitted By patstar558
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Show how the writers in texts of your choice explore the tension in male-female relationships between a hankering for emotional security on the one hand and sexual fulfilment on the other

In all the texts studied it is clear that there is a desire for both emotional security and sexual fulfilment. However, it is interesting to observe how great an influence these two instinctive needs hold over the characters, and their power in shaping, and arguably beginning, otherwise unforeseeable events. Both 'The Mill on The Floss' and 'A Streetcar Named Desire' take an idealistic view on this matter and vividly describe how straying towards sexual fulfilment rather than emotional security, leads to the ruin and decline of a character. This is depicted with Blanche's sectioning and Maggie's outcast from society and later tragic death. In this way, the authors are saying that emotional security, the peace of mind and warmth of heart in knowing you have someone who loves and cares for you, should always overpower the desire for sexual fulfilment, as that is what they perceive to be just and moral. On the other hand, metaphysical poets like Carew and Harrick take the other side of the debate and argue that sexual desire is natural and should not be spurned but rather embraced, as only when it is fully embraced can true emotional security and satisfaction be completely achieved. In both 'Mill on The Floss' and 'A Streetcar Named Desire' there are two male characters who represent each of the two desires; emotional security and sexual fulfilment. They occur in the form of the crippled Philip against a confident, handsome Stephen competing for Maggie's love, as well as in the shape of the gentler, kinder Mitch versus the brute, “animal” Stanley as they come into contact with the delicate Blanche. One aspect that has to be taken into consideration when comparing these two pieces is the time during which they were written. The 'Mill on The Floss', for example, was written during the Victorian era where there was strict censorship on how explicit one could be, as well as strong views and pressure about what was 'decent' and could be included in a written work. Therefore, the role of Philip's deformity was to diminish him sexually without being restricted by censors. By giving him such a severe physical deformity it is made obvious to the reader that Philip is not able to provide 'sexual fulfilment', whereas Stephen Guest, the charming, young man most certainly is. On the other hand, 'A Streetcar Named Desire' was written post World War 2, in an American city that was fully embracing new liberal ideals and values, and as such it is expectedly more direct and open about issues relating to sex and the problems they cause, especially when entangled with emotions. As critic Christopher Holland points out, “Sexuality itself is a driving force in the play”. This can be clearly seen in the opening scene when Williams is talking about Stanley, “... the centre of his life has been pleasure with women, the giving and taking of it ... with the power and pride of a richly feathered male bird among hens … he sizes women up at a glance, with sexual classifications.” Unlike Maggie, who is a very complex and intelligent young woman, in 'A Streetcar Named Desire' Blanche DuBois is introduced as a vain, erratic, unstable woman. This is illustrated well in her opening conversation with her sister Stella where she seems to be very confused and panicked “I thought you would never come back to this horrible place! What am I saying! I didn't mean to say that. I meant to be nice about it and say... Ha-a-ha.” We continue to see this delicate state of mind regularly throughout the play when she is worried about her appearance (“my looks are slipping”) to the point where she refuses to be looked at in direct light. However, being looked at in light could also be figurative of the fact she doesn’t want to be inspected and seen for who she truly is; the secrets…