A Streetcar Named Desire

  • Category: American History
  • Words: 706
  • Grade: 100
A Streetcar Named Desire Tennessee Williams is known for

his powerfully written psychological dramas. Most of his

works are set in the southern United States and they usually

portray neurotic people who are victims of their own

passions, frustrations, and loneliness. The play represents the

conflict between the sensitive, neurotic Blanche DuBois and

the crude, animalistic Stanley Kowalski. Blanche visits the

home of her sister, Stella, in New Orleans and that is when

Stanley started picking at her, almost testing her. Before she

had met Stanley, she told her sister of how their plantation

had been lost due to the costs of paying for the funerals of

many family members. There was not enough money for her

to keep the plantation. While Blanche bathed after her

arrival, Stanley came home. Stella had told him what had

happened and he immediately insisted that Blanche was

swindling them. He hinted that Blanche had sold the

plantation in order to buy beautiful furs and jewelry. He went

through Blanche's trunk while she bathed, Stella insisted he

stop. He was looking for sale papers from the plantation.

After Blanche was finished bathing, Stella was outside, so

Stanley started questioning Blanche. She insisted that she

had nothing to hide from him and let him go through all

historical papers from Belle Reve, the plantation. While living

with Stella and Stanley, Blanche had met a man named

Mitch, who she started dating. She liked him a lot but she

hid many things from him. Firstly, she hid secrets of her first

lover, her husband Allan Grey. Every time she thought of

him, she thought of how he killed himself and she heard the

polka which played in the background. She did not want to

speak of this to Mitch. After Allan's death, Blanche used to

go to the Tarantula Arms hotel where she would have

intimacies with strangers. She did it because she felt it would

fill her empty heart. She did not want to tell Mitch because

she wanted him to respect her. Blanche was very careful to

hide her looks too. She felt that she was old looking and

tried to avoid bright lights from glaring down on her. She

covered a light in Stella's house with a Chinese paper lamp

to keep it from being so bright she hid her looks from Mitch,

he never saw her in the day. Finally, one day, Stanley tried

to find out many of Blanche's secrets and told them to Mitch

so he would not fall for her, even though he was considering

marrying her. He told Mitch of her intimacies, and told him

of when she had a relationship with one of her students.

Mitch felt deceived, she lied to him about many things, her

age, her past. Stanley taunted Blanche until he attacked her

in violent passion. When Blanche tried to tell her sister what

Stanley had done to her, she does not know what to think.

Blanche retreats into a private dreamworld. She tells Stella

and Eunice, a friend, of how she is going to die. She says

she will die from eating an unwashed grape. Grapes are a

symbol with sexual overtones. Stanley represents the

unwashed grape that will kill her. Blanche says that she will

die with her hand in the hand of a young ship's doctor and

she will be buried at sea. She will be dropped into an ocean

as blue as her first lover's eyes. Blue is used in this play as a

symbol of sadness. It represents her husband's death. Her

husband, to her, was different than other men, he had

beautiful blue eyes and she compared him to a seahorse.

The male seahorse is different because it id him that gives

birth unlike other creatures, as her husband was unlike other

men. Stella does not believe her sister after she tells her what

Stanley has done, instead, she has her sent to a mental

institution. She cries as Blanche is taken away, perhaps she

knows she has made a mistake but Stanley soothes her,

telling her everything will be back to normal, as he is opening

her blouse. Stanley has won, Blanche was gone, things

would be like before, he thought. In this play, there were

two streetcars mentioned. One was a streetcar named desire

which symbolized Blanche's desire to be loved. The other

was a streetcar names Cemeteries which symbolized

Blanche's fear of death. Both the desire to be loved and the

fear of death were quiet apparent in the way Blanche

thought. She wished to be loved like she was with her

husband, and she feared death, as it took her first love.
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