Art, Literature, Culture, Politics, and Their Intersections // All work by Kevin Medansky.
12 October 2014
Balancing “Traditional Values” and the Merits of Communal Ideals
Experiential art transforms passive onlookers into detectives of their own surroundings, commanding them to perpetually re-investigate their place within communal realms, scrutinizing diversity in values and counterweighting newfound ideas and trends with the amenity of normalcy. In Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, for example, what constitutes a “traditional” Southern code of ethics comes into question when Blanche rides along the steel tracks built between ignoring her mistake-ridden past for a fateful idealism of truth and embracing her future, dreamily imagining her mundane moments to be evermore ethically supreme. Her newfound temporary home in the den of her sister Stella’s French Quarter apartment allows her to either appreciate sexual deviancy and overlook adultery or remain a painful rejectionist to New Orleans culture. Stella’s husband, on the other hand, sees no opportunity for choice in mind: Blanche must leave, animalistic and physically brutal sex must continue and the poker game of life must never cease to exist. In the end, while only Stella commits to a final decision for her family, Williams, like all genuine artists, confiscates viewers’ ignorance to the necessity of contemplating their own thoughts of communal morality and how their family and geography enslave or liberate their very anima.
Stella (Kim Hunter) hugs her husband Stanley (Marlon Brando) in the 1951 cinematic release of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire.
Image Courtesy of Fanpop, Inc. and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.