Essay/Term paper: A streetcar named desire
Essay, term paper, research paper: Cliff Notes
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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