After having been performed at the Ethel Barrymore Theater in 1946, A Streetcar Named Desire brought about much controversy. At first it seemed that much of the controversy stemmed from the unpleasantness with which the subject was presented, such as the vulgar, unprecedented topics acted out on stage. George Jean Nathan, an original critic of the play, touched upon the vulgar manner of the drama, calling it “The Glands Menagerie.” (Bak, “Criticism on a Streetcar Named Desire”) Perhaps the more pressing reason as to why this play was received controversially, however, is a result of its cynical nature. Playwright, Tennessee Williams, used his own suffering and cynical nature to create this play. Many of the characters’ personalities were created
“I don’t want realism, I want magic”- Blanche DuBois (Williams 145). In A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams presents readers with the acute presence of fantasy in individuals’ lives. Every character fabricates fantasies in his life to gloss over his struggles and forget each other 's flaws. A Streetcar Named Desire evaluates individual’s use of fantasy as a crutch to avoid the hard truths and give purpose to an empty life.
It has been said that the setting of a story shapes its course of events, its narrative and the perspective of its characters. This notion is proven to be true in the play A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams. The city of New Orleans, Louisiana provides the perfect backdrop for A Streetcar Named Desire; The home of Mardi Gras, Jazz and Bourbon Street provides a unique blend of old wealth, traditional southern sophistication, and a new immigrant blue collar culture. This blend of different cultures provides the ideal environment for the development of the main character, Blanche Du Bois. Much like Blanche, the once pristine city has fallen onto hard times in the post World War Two world.
William’s play A Streetcar Named Desire presents a variety of perspectives on relationships, especially addressing the idea that bonds which aren’t bound by trust, loyalty and lust in an even balance will inevitably fail. Tennessee Williams uses the interaction between his characters, predominantly Blanche, Mitch, Stella and Stanley; to express a variety of ideas regarding relationships. These connections can be witnessed in scenes 2, 3, 6 and 11, through the use of stage directions, dialogue and expressionism to display different perspectives of character interaction.
Tennessee Williams’ famous play of 1947 revolves around the iconic, tragicomic character of Blanche DuBois, a washed-up Southern Belle and disgraced high school teacher, who finds herself staying with her sister Stella and her uncouth husband Stanley Kowalski, in a seedy tenement in New Orleans. The tragedy and the bitter comedy of Blanche’s character lie in her disconnection from reality. The grandiosity and glamour with which Blanche surrounds herself, with her costume jewelry, her fine clothes and improbable stories are at odds with the fact that, despite her distaste, she has to put up with her sister’s squalid apartment and brutish husband, because she has no other option; having lost her estate, her job, her reputation and her youthful
Symbolism in literature is a huge part of identifying a main theme. A symbol expresses the central idea of the piece. It is very different in each story even if they are the same symbol. I chose to analyze the symbol of alcohol. In “A Streetcar Named Desire” alcohol is shown in many ways through Blanche and Stanley. In “A Raisin in the Sun” alcohol is represented through Walters dream.
Written at the end of World War II, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams features changes in society that have occurred as a result of war. Williams, however, being from Mississippi, was more affected by the American Civil War. The South suffered economically after being defeated by the Northern states, thus contributing to Williams writing about the South with an air of decay and romantic detail. The urbanisation of that followed was heavily featured in the play, and is incorporated through Williams’ representation of his characters. Williams makes use of the ostracisation of Blanche 's character, a portrayal of the pre-industrialised South in the play, by the characters from New Orleans, who represent the urbanised world, to highlight the economic and social changes the United States was undergoing. He does this through the out-of-place presentation of Blanche’s character, her conflict with Stanley Kowalski, and her sense of delusion and reluctance to accept the reality of the new Southern world.
Tennessee Williams is a world famous playwright. He has won many prestigious awards. In 1947, Williams penned one of his most famous plays, A Streetcar Named Desire, winning him the Pulitzer Prize. William’s background greatly influenced his writing, and because of this, alcoholism and mental illness are issues strongly reflected in his works (Williams 1817). A Streetcar Named Desire is a story about a women with mental health issues, named Blanche Dubois. In the play, Blanche loses her family 's estate, and goes to stay with her sister Stella. Stella lives with her husband Stanley. From the start of the play, the audience begins to notice Blanche and Stanley’s contrasted personalities. Williams uses symbolism to allow his characters to represent something stronger than themselves. Past and present are intertwined in A Streetcar Named Desire through Blanche and Stanley; Blanche represents the past: the Old South, aristocracy, and former sensitivity, while Stanley represents the present: the New South, the industrial class, and modern straightforwardness.
“A Streetcar Named Desire” is a very elegant film in which the Southern gothic culture is demonstrated profoundly. Tennessee Williams uses the characters in the play to bring about a sense of how corrupt society truly was in the 1940’s in the South. The 1940’s was marked by an immense amount of violence, alcoholism, and poverty. Women at the time were treated as objects rather than people. Throughout the play Tennessee Williams relates the aspects of Southern society to the characters in the play. As the movie goes on, it becomes more and more clear what Tennessee Williams is trying to convey to the audience. This being, Southern culture was deeply corrupted in many ways and the societal norms of the time period were like a drug that people
Would one rather accept reality- death, sickness, loneliness- or explore a pretend world of happy endings? Tennessee Williams’ exceptional play, “A Streetcar Named Desire” brilliantly showcases the struggle to accept reality through all the loss and sadness rather than imaginary happiness. Blanche tries to wash away her past and hide her present from her family and Mitch, all while Stella ignores the truths of their dysfunctional marriage, and Mitch is struggling with the inevitable death of his mother. Throughout the play, the ugly truth is overlooked and replaced by a string of beautiful lies. “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams portrays the inability to accept reality rather than the imaginary through Blanche’s past and present,
The late 1940’s were characterized by the emergence out of World War II that led to a dependence on the idea of The American Dream, which meant men were working harder to achieve a more comforting lifestyle and opportunity while women were still fighting the oppression of caused by unequal representation. This idealistic dream is illustrated throughout Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire”, which has a rigid dichotomy between illusion and reality revealed throughout multiple characters and their dysfunctional lives that are a direct result between fantasy and actuality.
Effeminate- Adjective -(of a man) Having or showing characteristics regarded as typical of a woman; unmanly. (Pg 114)
Williams’ major female character in A Streetcar Named Desire is Blanche. Blanche is an aging Southern beautiful woman who lives in a state of permanent panic about her fading beauty. Blanche is fatally divided, swinging between the desire to be a young, beautiful lady who concerned with old-fashioned southern ways and a bohemian erring excessive in her appetites. In New Orleans, Blanche hides her real age and vicious past as she tries to attract an appropriate husband to clean up her life (Abbotson50).The loss of security has sent Blanche on a desperate search for protection: “I’ve run for protection Stella, from under one leaky roof to another leaky roof –because it was storm –all storm, and i was caught in the center” (v.114).
The character role of Blanche in the play, A Streetcar Named Desire was full of fantasy and delusion where Stella and Stanley started to live a life in romance. The place names were real, the journey foreshadowed Blanche’s psyche orientation throughout the play. Blanche’s desires had led her down paths of bad sexual relation and alcoholism, and by making contact with the Kowalski; she had crossed the limit. Blanche’s desire to escape made her to isolate from the world around her. By the end of the play, Blanche could no longer distinguish between fantasy and reality.
Throughout the movie Blue Jasmine and the book Streetcar Named Desire, present many similarities and differences. Both the movie and the book highlights the use of madness from how both characters descended into madness due to their past deceptions, and deal with madness with the usage of intoxicants. On the other hand, a difference they share is that the madness leads to different outcomes.