The Memory Play: A Streetcar Named Desire

929 Words4 Pages
he plot is framed by Blanche’s arrival in the first scene and her departure in the eleventh scene. The play has only one plot with no sub-plot. A Streetcar Named Desire presents us with two stories: the growing conflict between Stanley and Blanche, and the gradual crumbling of Blanche’s sanity. The play is presented chronologically, from Blanche’s arrival at Elysian Fields in May to her departure for the mental asylum in September. Blanche is the only character who appears in every scene and this enable the audience to witness all her actions and emotions, and become privy to her secrets. The chronological structure also makes the audience aware of Blanche’s spiral into a destruction which is tragic and inevitable. The plot of the play is advanced…show more content…
The memory play contains three parts: in the first part, a character undergoes a deeply traumatic experience, the second part is an arrest of time, and in the final part, the character is forced to relive the experience until its meaning become clear. In A Streetcar Named Desire, the memory play format is an affective structure to present Blanche’s guilt. The traumatic experience of the first part is Allan’s suicide after his secret is revealed to Blanche as being a homosexual. Time is arrested whenever Blanche hallucinates, hearing the Varsouviana in her mind which brings sad memories of Allan’s death, and the third part exposes her failure to expiate her past and overcome her guilt over the suicide of her young husband and for her prostitution at Flamingo hotel as she descends into madness (O'Shea…show more content…
The residents of Elysian Fields speak the language of the working-class which is direct. In contrast, Blanche emphasizes her superiority by using euphemisms. She is proud of her heritage and she speaks French to show her refinement and to impress Mitch. Stanley’s speech reflects his rough and uneducated background. In A Streetcar Named Desire, the very marked distinctions between Blanche and Stanley are highlighted by Stanley's coarse, non-grammatical, often slangy speech which is against Blanche's high-flown rhetoric as she was an English teacher so the instant tension between Blanche and Stanley is created through their opposing language
Open Document