Criticisms of Pollenatedweasal's edits to A Streecar Named Desire, 1951 film
Pollenatedweasal has made a number of edits to the text which I have inserted, without explanation. I think that overall, these edits do not improve the page. In almost every case, the grammar of the edits is not as good as the grammar being superceded. There are also several cases in which interpretations are made that do not belong in this kind of article. Also, some slang words or phrases have been added. Also, some plot events have been changed to be less accurate. And some old cliches have been added back. I will give this a few weeks for comment, and then I will see if it might be prudent to edit the page some more or just leave it as it is.
I have some specific criticisms listed below:
The pregnant Stella asks Stanley not to tell Blanche that she is pregnant, for fear she will get overexcited. Poorly written and not necessary.
While Stella goes out to the store, Stanley accosts Blanche about the circumstances surrounding the loss of Belle Reve. Unnecessary interpretation.
When Blanche tries to snatch them back, the letters fall to the floor. It did not happen this way; the letters fell from her hands when Stanley grabbed them.
Soon after, Stanley hosts a poker night with his friends in his and Stella's apartment. Stanley is just a cut above an ape-man; he doesn’t “host” parties.
When Blanche turns on the radio against Stanley's bidding, Stanley explodes in a drunken rage, striking Stella after she comes to her sister's defense. Stanley's friends go home while Blanche and Stella flee to the upstairs neighbor, Eunice. Too much detail.
When his anger subsides, Stanley weeps, and cries out for Stella to come back. Stella descends the stairs and Stanley carries her off to bed to have sex. “…carries her off to bed for sex … “ This is not an encyclopedic tone; better to say, “carries her off to bed….
In the morning, Blanche wakes Stella up and accuses Stanley of being subhuman and animalistic. She does not mention that he is “animalistic,” which is also not a very good word.
Blanche’s visit extends as she is unable to find another place to stay. An explanation not given in the plot; there is no effort to find another place to stay, nor to move out.
He despises her obsession with seeming respectable and pure, while she continues to feel threatened by his vulgarity. Awkward grammar.
He tells Stella what he finds; that Blanche has a reputation for mental instability, sexual promiscuity and homosexuality that got her fired from her teaching job in Auriol and run out of town. This does not follow the story line. Blanche does not have a history of homosexuality.
She admits to her anxieties and explains her coping mechanisms, pleading for forgiveness. Poorly written; “coping mechanism” is not a real thing.
Angry and humiliated, Mitch spitefully rejects her after sharing a confused kiss. Wrong interpretation. Mitch is not spiteful towards Blanche; he is genuinely hurt. Also, “sharing a confused kiss” is a poor choice of words, and does not describe the scene.
Blanche chases him out, threatening to scream for help and frame him for assaulting her if he does not leave. Blanche screamed to make Mitch leave. All the rest is made up.
He taunts her with further displays of his own brutishness and vulgarity, while she keeps making attempts to maintain her respectable façade. These are standard old “Streetcar Named Desire” cliches.
Stanley becomes frustrated with her stubbornness and assaults Blanche. It is implied that he rapes her. This is not what happens; this is analysis and interpretation.
Retired completely to her own corner of the house, not willing to face Stanley, Blanche is emotionally fragile, having fits whenever confronted with something that does not fit into her view of herself. They are in a 2 room flat, not a house. Blanche is in the bathroom, washing her hair, not in her own corner of the house. Blanche is not having “fits.” “Fit” in this context is an inappropriate slang word.
Stella and Eunice have told Blanche that a rich admirer of hers is coming to take her on a cruise. Stella has told Blanche that she is going on a vacation in the country. The “rich admirer and the cruise are Blanche’s own ideas.
Instead, they have arranged for her to be committed into a mental institution. She is “going” to a mental institution. Nothing is ever said about arrangements, or tricking her, only that she is "going." So why not just say that?
She has told Stella about Stanley's assault, and the rumour has spread through Stanley's social circle, though nobody elects to do anything about it. Stella is more conflicted than ever about her relationship with Stanley. There is an interpretation, not in the movie plot.
An older doctor and an older nurse come to the door. How old are they? Does it matter?
Mitch, present at the poker game, launches himself at Stanley, but is restrained and breaks down into tears. Mitch breaks down in tears first; then Blance collapses in confusion. Grinbriar (talk) 18:52, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
- Going to respond to these in order.
- Pregnant Stella - agreed that this line was not amazingly written, but I added it in to lead into the "Stanley announces that Stella is pregnant" line at the end of the next paragraph. Without the context of the pregnant Stella line, Stanley's announcement could be misinterpreted as him trying to be more amicable towards Blanche than his character is in the film (ex. it could be construed that he is trying hard to make her feel better about his suspicions.) In my opinion, it is also important for representing Stanley's underlying lack of respect of his wife.
- Stella goes out to store - Not sure what you mean by unnecessary interpretation. This is something that's explicitly presented by the film. Can you please clarify what part in the line you feel is interpretation?
- When Blanche tries to snatch them back - I've just rewatched the scene. The line I have written is correct, Blanche snatches the letters from Stanley's hands with too much force, follows through, and they fall to the floor.
- Stanley hosts poker night - This is a strange comment. I'm not sure what you're suggesting. Are you wanting Stanley to be portrayed more brutishly by this line? "Ape-man" is not stylistically appropriate for Wikipedia, and is rather more appropriate for a narrative persuasive essay. Can you provide an example replacement line that is non-colloquial and short enough so as to not take away from the description of the scene?
- Blanche turns on radio - I, too, felt that this line was a fair bit more descriptive than others on Wikipedia, but simultaneously felt that any less description would turn out strangely. Here are the possibilities on how I see the line can be rewritten, followed by the reason I feel they don't work;
- Deleting reference to Blanche turning on the radio - Stanley's fit has no context & tension between Stanley and Blanche is not shown.
- Delete reference to Stella coming to Blanche's defense - Stanley hitting Stella could be misconstrued as him going for Stella originally, perhaps blaming her for his frustrations. This is obviously not true.
- Delete reference to Stanley's friends going home - What happened to his friends? Creates unnecessary ambiguity for the article.
- Delete mention of Eunice - Important recurring plot device of Eunice's home is not established
- If you have other ideas on how to rewrite, please clarify & expand.
- Carries her off to bed to have sex - As it is, "have sex" is absolutely in line with a modern encyclopedic tone, and is in use in other articles describing sex in the context of the plot of a piece of fiction. Well-moderated articles describing the plots of A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones come to mind for their use of the phrase. In Streetcar, Stanley and Stella having sex as reconciliation is an important plot point, continuing the motif of the animalistic tendencies between the two (major theme - "Don't hang back with the brutes!") This point cannot be omitted, only euphemised. Use of euphemisms is not encyclopedic.
- Subhuman/animalistic - Synopses are not required to directly quote from the works they are summarising. Blanche, as I recall, does not use the word "animalistic," but her tirade is well summed up by that word, in my opinion. Please respond with: a) why "animalistic" is not a good word to use, b) with respect to the reasons you give to a), what alternative word do you recommend?
- Blanche's visit - Agreed. Maybe it should be changed to something along the lines of "Months pass and Blanche is still staying with Stanley and Stella."
- Obsession with respectable/pure - The grammar in this line is correct and comprehensible. Please clarify your concern.
- Homosexuality - When Mitch confronts Blanche, he calls her "not straight." Blanche responds; "Straight? What's 'straight'? A line can be straight, or a street. But the heart of a human being?" I was under the impression that her response points towards the interpretation of "straight" as "heterosexual." The "straight" slang term has been in use in gay social circles since the mid-20th century, and since Williams (a gay man) wrote the screenplay around this time, I find it not too far of a stretch that this was his intention. I could be wrong, though. Please refute.
- Coping mechanism - This is another strange comment. "Coping mechanism" is standard phrasing. Not sure how you define a "real thing", but it is in use in the page Coping (psychology). This revision is much better written than the line it replaced; "She admits to anxiety in coping with life."
- Mitch/Blanche kiss - His hurt manifests itself in the spitefulness he shows. A change to "Hurt, he spitefully..." would work just fine. "Confused kiss" - while a poor choice of words - describes the scene, in my opinion. Please suggest an alternative.
- Blanche screaming - It's not made up, but the writing of this line is not very good, I agree. Mitch runs from Blanche's threat of screaming not because he's afraid of loud noises, which is what the omission of the second part of this line might imply. Blanche's implication is that she will set any helpful bystanders on him. This interpretation in tandem with her subsequent withdrawal back into the home once Mitch has fled is in line with Blanche's character arc of following ladylike stereotypes and being immensely contradictory to herself. I'm not sure if I understood your comment here, please clarify if that's the case.
- Taunts her - The criticism you've provided is invalid. These descriptions work very well. The fact that they are widely used does not detract from their effectiveness. Wikipedia is not a narrative essay database, where original wording is expected.
- Stanley assaults - That Stanley rapes Blanche in this scene is a widely-accepted interpretation for both this film and the play it is based on. The implication is there, and you cannot reasonably expect it to go unmentioned just because it's not explicitly shown or stated that she is raped. If you can provide an alternative wording that leaves out any interpretation while;
- providing context for how the struggle ends, and
- explaining why Blanche's mental state has so deteriorated
- please respond with one.
- Blanche has retired - will fix the "house" and "corner" references. As per Wiktionary, "fit" is a medicinal term, not slang, and is therefore acceptable.
- Vacation - Correct, not on a cruise, but not on a vacation to the country, either. Just on a vacation. Will fix.
- Arranged - I am incredibly confused by your comment, so I'm going to answer what I think is the question you're asking.
- Per se, "going to a mental institution" fails to imply the truth that Stella and Eunice have made unmentioned arrangements to have her institutionalised. They tell her she is going on a vacation, when she's going to a mental institution. This fits the definition of "tricking." In response to your question; why should I leave out important and explicitly shown reasoning behind events in the plot? To simply say she's "going," as you suggest, would go against basic synopsis-writing standard.
- Rumour spread - the part about her telling Stella might not be true, but I was simply carrying over that part from your revision. The rumour having spread through Stanley's social circle is fairly explicit in the film. Mitch shouts that Stanley made Blanche the way she is, Pablo and Steve stare at Stanley accusingly, and Stanley says "What are you looking at? I never once touched her." Without prompting, this is an incredibly strange & specific response for Stanley to give if it were not already an unspoken contention between him and his friends.
- Older - I was trying to carry on from the description of the "older man and woman" that you left on your last revision. The reference is not to my liking. Please respond whether or not you'd like it removed as well.
- Order of collapsing/Mitch sobbing - Again, I've just rewatched scene, and the current revision is correct. Blanche collapses, is restrained by the nurse, then, Mitch punches Stanley. - Pollenatedweasel (talk) 20:51, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
- Also, responding to your first paragraph's concerns: There is nothing inherently grammatically wrong with most of my additions, and I've made a number of improvements to worse grammar that was present before. I've already addressed some of the things you brought up as interpretations, and I'm waiting on your response for others, but so far, I believe I've proven that those additions do belong in the article. I did not use any slang words or phrases, as I have mentioned in my response above. Exactly two plot details you brought up were inaccurate. The rest of the supposed inaccuracies (as I have checked) are in fact completely correct. I reiterate my response to your cliché comment above; being originally worded is not a requirement for an encyclopedic article.
Replies to Pollenatedweasal's criticisms
The word "fit" as you use it is slang. Here is an example of the medical definition of "fit:" Fits (seizures) have a variety of causes, and most fits will not be due to a brain tumour. Fits occurring for the first time should be viewed as a potentially serious symptom, and require further investigation of the cause. A fit can be a brief moment when the person appears to be “absent” from what is going on around them, or jerking/twitching of a hand, arm or leg or jerking/twitching affecting the whole body. They may or may not become unconscious. Having or witnessing a fit can be very frightening.
The word "fit" is obviouisly slang, which makes me wonder if you are a child, still in school, or if maybe English is your second language.
Also, there is more to good grammar than just being technically correct. "You are being pretty today..." is technically correct. There is nothing wrong with the verb tense, conjugation, and word order. But still it is not right. It does not sound right. It does not conform to common usage. A mature and educated person, or a native speaker would more readily pick-up on that. I don't think it is worth my time to argue in such minutia about what is or is not obviously slang or good or bad grammar.
You have provided some painfully "exquisite" detail, with complex inferences and analytic elaboration, yet you criticize me if I even hint at an interpretation. I just want to give the plot as a person would see it, if a person saw it, and not tell them what every little thing meant, for example, that Blanche has a homosexual past.
One of my criticisms was that you said Mitch "spitefully" rejected Blanche. You rewrote the whole sentence, but left in the word "spite." The reason that I wanted the word "spite" removed is because Mitch was without spite.
Why do you say "Blanche is in the bathroom washing her hair?" I just used that as an example that she was not cringing in a corner as you said she was. You don't need to say she is washing her hair. You told me that a plot summary does not need to include every detail, yet you include this kind of detail.
- For the record, I am a native English speaker and study English literature. I will not give you further personal information.
- You're completely wrong about fit. It can seem like a slang term if you've never looked into it, but it is not "obviouisly" slang if you look it up in a dictionary.
- I believe you had concerns with the line, "He despises her obsession with seeming respectable and pure, while she continues to feel threatened by his bluntness and vulgarity." This line sounds perfectly "right" to me, and conforms to common usage. If you are a native English speaker and are picking up something I'm missing, it should be no problem for you to find the grammatical term for whatever error this is and send it to me, since I do not understand your qualms with it and your only argument against it is along the lines of, "as a native speaker, this does not sound right." As a native speaker, this sounds right. Ad hominem does not work if the trait you accuse me of turns out not to be a trait I have.
- I never said "exquisite." I'm not sure where I criticised you for "even hinting" at interpretation?
- The inferences made are as complex and analytical as you expect them to be in a plot article, i.e. not really that complex or analytical at all. Just because things happen offscreen or are not explicitly stated by dialogue or narration does not mean that they are not explicit within the film itself. Anyone who can watch a film knows this for fact. Example:
- In 2001: A Space Odyssey, towards the end, there is a bizarre scene in which the main character flies through space. This is represented by a psychedelic montage of coloured kaleidoscope-esque images whizzing by the screen. Would you say in a plot article; "We see a psychedelic montage of coloured kaleidoscope-esque images and... <continue>," OR; "<Main character> flies through space at great speed, finding himself... <continue>"? This is, of course, another real example of Wikipedia standard on a well-moderated article. We say the latter, because the latter is the easy inference that the audience makes and the filmmakers have expected us to make.
- And I want you to tell me how "spite" is unusable here. To save you the trouble of an ill-informed grammatical rant, here's the Wiktionary link for it, where you can see that its usage in describing Mitch in this scene is in line with its definitions. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/spite#Etymology_1
- Made a mistake about the hair washing. I've fixed it.
- I am not the Stickman and had no idea who that is, though after visiting your talk page I gather they are another user you have had quarrels with. Please do not project whatever grudges you may have with them onto me. - Pollenatedweasel (talk) 15:50, 1 April 2015 (UTC)
I said that ... you have provided some painfully "exquisite" detail ... I did not say that you used the word "exquisite." I am a little frustrated communicating with you because your replies often indicate that you have not understood my meaning. I don't mean to hurt your feelings by saying this. If I have, then please excuse me.
"He despises her obsession with seeming respectable and pure, while she continues to feel threatened by his bluntness and vulgarity." This senence is idiomatcially awkward. It is a poor sentence. The sentence you replaced was a better sentence. In fact many of my sentences that you replaced were better than the ones you replaced them with. I do not know how else to say it. English teachers grade papers all the time, and mark grammatically correct sentences as awkwardly written. I can see it clearly. I do not know why you cannot. I asked if you were a child, meaning someone under the age of 18, or someone whose native language is not Enlish. I do not mean to hurt your feelings with these inquiries; I am just puzzled by your exchanges with me regarding grammar, slang, and now, might I also add, idiom. If I am hurting your feelings, then I apologize.
I asked if you are The Stickman because you use the same phrases and arguements, replacing some of my words with the exact same words as The Stickman, when the Stickman was making corrections to my edits in the Streetcar Named Desire article on the play. I am not meaning to insult you or hurt your feelings. If I have done so, then I apologize. I will not be making any additional edits to the article for a while since you do not seem open to it, at this time. I will just bow out for now. If I don't make any more commnets, I am not ignoring you; I just cannot spend all of my time on this. If you make any more edits, please do not include me in the edit comment. Grinbriar (talk) 18:32, 1 April 2015 (UTC)