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A Streetcar Named Lisbon Traviata Is Still Running

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2010, 23(2), pp.33-57
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

Seung Jin Baek 1

1경상대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The purpose of the paper is to analyze two gay playwrights Tennessee Williams and Terrence McNally and to show the differences of the two playwrights in dealing with homosexual aspects. Between the two playwrights’ major works, the Stonewall riots(1969) are placed. Even though millions of gay men and lesbians were enjoying the results of the riots, still most of them remained inside the closet. History says that the Stonewall riots have a significant socio-political meaning in the sense that the gay liberation came from the Stonewall riots, which would transform gay life in America. Gay people had no self-esteem before the riots. But after the riots, gay people’s response to their sexual identity became to change slowly. These changes can be recognized through Williams’s and McNally’s attitudes in characterizing gay men in their works. Williams tries to overthrow the traditional concept of sex roles based on hetero-centralism in The Glass Menagerie(1945) and hides his homosexual identity within the actions of a heterosexual female character, Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire(1947). In Cat on a Hot Tin Roof(1955), Big Daddy shows an antihomophobic position and tries to understand Brick who is thought of as a gay man. Williams’s own guilt complex, however, makes him kill Sebastian in Suddenly Last Summer(1958). Williams’s negative attitudes such as self-hatred and homophobia towards describing homosexual aspects can be shown in McNally’s major works, especially Lips Together, Teeth Apart(1991). But a generation gap exists here. McNally introduces the new generation of gay men such as Mike and Paul in The Lisbon Traviata(1989) and shows how to love each other and how to overcome society’s prejudices against gay men in Love! Valour!, Compassion!(1994).

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