The Application of Bakhtin’s “Heteroglossia” to Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire

Raja Khaleel Al-Khalili

Abstract


Tennessee William in A Streetcar Named Desire shows the struggles of middle class Americans as they undergo socio-ideological contradictions. The research applies Bakhtin’s theory that is defined in his book The Dialogic Imagination and specifically applies heteroglossia on A Streetcar Named Desire. Edward Said’s concept of “orientalism” is useful because Said’s concept explains the link between the problems of American society and its heterogeneous structure. The
play explores the effects of diversity on American society. The characters in the play perceive their lives as a reflection of their linguistically diverse surrounding which is closely tied to the American experience. The play also shows how diversity is seen as a negative presence in America. The research shows how the play is heteroglot by examining the characters’ stories. The play’s narratives reflect the two faces of how the middle class white Americans see the diversity of American culture. The research recommends that the analysis of plays based on the concept of “heteroglossia” could yield more insight into the other plays by Williams.


Keywords


Bakhtin, American Literature, Heteroglossia, Tennessee Williams, Modern Drama, Racism, Said

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References


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