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A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire

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A Streetcar Named Desire

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  1. A Streetcar Named Desire

  2. Introduction Background on Tennessee Williams • Early life and family • His work • His style (poetic dialogue, realism, naturalism, symbolism, use of light and sound)

  3. Tennessee’s Method • psychological realism and realism of setting combined with anti-realistic devices: • dialogue mixed with direct address, soliloquy, and confession • isolation of characters during set speachesby lighting • projection of words and pictures to explain or elaborate the action • frequent use of symbols and significant names and of music to enhance mood

  4. Structure of the Play

  5. Eleven scenes – no “Well-constructed Play” sturcture Emotional Structure 1. arrival and suspicion (“guerrilla war”) 2. poker and violence 3. Stanley as ape 4. investigation 5. the birthday party 6. Downfall and dignity Structure II

  6. Blanche – one of America’s greatest dramatic creations 1. the fall of Blanche=fall from elegance/innocence to desire and degradation 2. frantic, trapped, proud, determined to survive 3. addiction to baths, strong drink, cigarettes, and young men 4. eloquent and educated 5. most courageous (ending) Characters

  7. Stella 1. “average woman” 2. forgotten Belle Reve and her background 3. thrilled by Stanley’s sexuality and drive 4. stays with Stanley, now with baby— victim of her fate— her desire Characters

  8. c. Stanley 1. personification of male sexual energy 2. smart and perceptive (good salesman, “destined for success” and a Neanderthal – both Stella and Blanche are right) • Battle with Blanche (suspicion Investigationwar (bus ticket, rape, destruction) cHARACTERS

  9. Mitch 1. weak, “momma’s boy” more sensitive than Stanley (a bit like Alan Grey?) 2. hopes to replace his dying mother with Blanche 3. weak love (abandon’s Blanche when he sees her “in the light” 4. turns his back on love 5. regrets and compassion in the last scene Characters

  10. The search for a home 1. the “unwelcome guest,” the outcast 2. shelter (physical and spiritual) 3. a place where you are wanted and where you belong Themes

  11. Love vs. Desire 1. Stanley and Stella 2. Blanche and Allan 3. Blanche and Mitch Themes

  12. C. Truth and Illusion (practical vs romantic physical vs spiritual) Truth Illusion Themes

  13. C. Truth and Illusion 1. Blanche’s “lies that tell the truth (or what ought to be true”; she never “lied in her heart.” 2. Stanley’s Truth that destroys the possibility for love Themes

  14. D. The Moral Theme 1. kindness of strangers vs deliberate cruelty 2. Blanche’s sins vs. Stanley’s 3. “epic fornications” that lose Belle Reve 4. Stella’s betrayal and Mitch’s betrayal Themes

  15. E. Feminist – View of Women: Virgin vs. Whore Blanche’s dilemna—has deep feelings of desire (sexual) but must maintain an illusion (50% of a woman’s charm) of the innocent flirtatious girl. Themes

  16. F. Sex and Death 1. Blanche’s fear of aging 2. The Title and first line Streetcar named Desire --Blanche’s love for Allan --her “killing” of him --filling her life with meaningless affairs—trying to fill the emptiness of the broken heart --seducing the student – mustn’t touch the children Themes

  17. F. Sex and death (con’t) 1. “transfer to one called Cemetery” a. Her self-disgust and self hate over Allen’s death lead to her downfall (she has now transferred to the streetcar name Cemetery.) b. At this point in Blanche’s life, the play begins. • Death (symbolized by the streetcar “Cemeteries”) can bring either heaven or hell. • Blanche can either “ride six blocks and then get off at—Elysian Fields”, or she can continue, broken spirited, to her final “death”—a life without desire. Themes

  18. F. Sex and Death – Elysian Fields 1. Blanche confesses to Mitch, with complete honesty, the story of how she destroyed her young husband. (Her honesty is significant because prior to this point, her relationship with Mitch is based solely on lies.) 2. In response to Blanche’s outpouring of emotion, Mitch says, “You need somebody. And I need somebody, too. Could it be—you and me, Blanche?” 3. Through her sobs, Blanche replies, “Sometimes— there’s God—so quickly!” – but then… Themes

  19. G. Universal The play tries to go below the surface and show what happens to fragile creatures (Blanche) in a cold, uncaring, hostile, and violent world (Stanley). Williams shows little for “making gentle the savage heart of man.” Themes

  20. Lighting 1. truth 2. age 3. brutal reality B. The paper lampshade symbols

  21. The poker game(s) Streetcar Music (gunshot) Symbols