Literary Context SND (actual)

  • Created by: Percabeth
  • Created on: 04-06-18 11:37
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  • Literary Context
    • Southern Gothic
      • TW once described SG as allied with "an underlying dreadfulness in modern experience"
      • like many other SG writers, TW dramatises with both humour & pathos the apparent inability of the genteel gracious gallantry of mythic Old South  to survive amid brash consumerist confidence of booming postwar US
        • the South as a broken, damaged society with the ripe charms of decay fired his imagination
          • to him, the South seemed to stand for cultural values ignored by the money grabbing, prosperous North
            • B & Stan. can be seen to rep these opposing sides
      • adoption of nickname 'Tennesse' was acknowledgement of his conscious commitment to dramatising the culture, values & conflicts of his native land
      • often focuses on bizarre & grotesque themes & dark humour with damaged or delusional characters developed in a complex way to expose the problems of society
    • Romanticism
      • in many ways, TW an artistic & cultural outsider like Byron
        • a misfit whose imagination & poetic spirit left him out of tune with pragmatic mores of contemporary society
          • he regretted the loss of the South's trad. creed of elegance, beauty & gallantry
            • TW's plays scattered with romantic dreamers like B & himself, tragically out of place in the new US & driven to use sex, alcohol & often drugs as a means of escape
            • interweaving of his lush, sometimes grandiose romantic visions & the grimy reality of ordinary life is 1 of hallmarks of TW's life & work
              • clash between Romanticism & pragmatism encapsulated by B vs Stan
    • The Epigraph (5th stanza from Hart Carter's poem 'The Broken Tower')
      • TW made sure epigraph printed in theatre programmes to make it easier for an audience to comapre Crane's words with his drama as for a reader
        • poem captures a sense of love as a transitory illusion or gambler's "desperate choice" - strongly suggestive of B's experience of love in a "broken world"
      • as 'The Broken Tower' last poem written before death, some see it as last will & testament
        • like Alan, Crane committed suicide at a tragically young age
      • TW admired & identified with Crane & are significant parallels in their lives
        • both has difficult rel.s with parents, struggled with alcoholism & were trying to find their identities as gay men at time where still intense social & cultural stigma attached to homosexuality
    • Modern American Tragedy
      • ordinary people are the tragic heroes rather than the 'greats' of society
    • European literature
      • Strindberg's 'Miss Julie' & Anton Chekhov's 'The Cherry Orchard' esp
        • both trad. families having to cope with change
        • household of Chekhov's Madame Ranevskaya & BR both doomed & useless yet possess a romantic charm
        • Strindberg's portrays class antagonism & sexual tension
  • TW overhauls & deconstructs trad. stereotype of Southern Belle
    • makes B not just the damsel in distress claims to be for naive suitor M's benefit but also a promiscuous alcholic who threatens to trash her sister's marriage
    • Southern Gothic
      • TW once described SG as allied with "an underlying dreadfulness in modern experience"
      • like many other SG writers, TW dramatises with both humour & pathos the apparent inability of the genteel gracious gallantry of mythic Old South  to survive amid brash consumerist confidence of booming postwar US
        • the South as a broken, damaged society with the ripe charms of decay fired his imagination
          • to him, the South seemed to stand for cultural values ignored by the money grabbing, prosperous North
            • B & Stan. can be seen to rep these opposing sides
      • adoption of nickname 'Tennesse' was acknowledgement of his conscious commitment to dramatising the culture, values & conflicts of his native land
      • often focuses on bizarre & grotesque themes & dark humour with damaged or delusional characters developed in a complex way to expose the problems of society
  • fascinatiion with past merged gradually wth an awareness of a South whose economic decay symbolised by fading beauty of the planters' mansions
    • like BR
    • The 'Mississipi School' emerged in 20thc

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