Home — Essay Samples — Literature — Plays — A Streetcar Named Desire

one px

Essays on A Streetcar Named Desire

Choosing the right essay topic is crucial for your success in college. Your creativity and personal interests play a significant role in the selection process. This webpage aims to provide you with a variety of A Streetcar Named Desire essay topics to inspire your writing and help you excel in your academic pursuits.

Essay Types and Topics

Argumentative.

  • The role of gender in A Streetcar Named Desire
  • The impact of societal norms on the characters' behaviors

Paragraph Example:

In Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, the portrayal of gender dynamics is a central theme that sheds light on the power struggles and societal expectations faced by the characters. This essay aims to explore the significance of gender in the play and its influence on the characters' decisions and relationships.

Through a close examination of the gender dynamics in A Streetcar Named Desire, this essay has highlighted the complexities of societal norms and their impact on individual lives. The characters' struggles serve as a reflection of the broader societal challenges, prompting us to reconsider our perceptions of gender roles and expectations.

Compare and Contrast

  • The parallels between Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowalski
  • The contrasting symbols of light and darkness in the play

Descriptive

  • The vivid imagery of New Orleans in the play
  • The sensory experiences portrayed in A Streetcar Named Desire
  • An argument for Blanche's mental state and its impact on her actions
  • The case for the significance of the play's setting in shaping the characters
  • Reimagining a key scene from a different character's perspective
  • A personal reflection on the themes of illusion and reality in the play

Engagement and Creativity

As you explore these essay topics, remember to engage your critical thinking skills and bring your unique perspective to your writing. A Streetcar Named Desire offers a rich tapestry of themes and characters, providing ample opportunities for creative exploration in your essays.

Educational Value

Each essay type presents a valuable opportunity for you to develop different skills. Argumentative essays can refine your analytical thinking, while descriptive essays can enhance your ability to paint vivid pictures with words. Persuasive essays help you hone your persuasive writing skills, and narrative essays allow you to practice storytelling and narrative techniques.

Reality Versus Illusion in The Streetcar Named Desire

The theme of abandonment and brutality in a streetcar named desire, made-to-order essay as fast as you need it.

Each essay is customized to cater to your unique preferences

+ experts online

How Blanche and Stella Rely on Self-delusion in a Streetcar Named Desire

The character of blanche in the play a streetcar named desire, the truth of blanche in a streetcar named desire, a marxist criticism of a streetcar named desire, let us write you an essay from scratch.

  • 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help
  • Custom essay delivered in as few as 3 hours

An Examination of The Character of Blanche in a Streetcar Named Desire

The flaws of blanche and why she ultimately failed, analysis of stanley kowalski’s role in tennessee williams’ book, a streetcar named desire, analysis of blanche and stella relationship in a streetcar named desire, get a personalized essay in under 3 hours.

Expert-written essays crafted with your exact needs in mind

The Concealed Homosexuality in a Streetcar Named Desire

Oppression, its brutality and its inescapability, is a dominant theme in literature, similar themes in a streetcar named desire by tennessee williams and water by robery lowell, first impression lies: the power and masculinity exuded by stanley kolawski, determining the tragedy potential in a streetcar named desire, how tennessee williams is influenced by the work of chekhov, the use of suspense in a streetcar named desire, a streetcar named desire by tennessee williams: personal identity of blanche, the portrayals of sexuality in cat on a hot tin roof and a streetcar named desire, evaluation of the social class ranking as illustrated in the book, a streetcar named desire, blanche and mitch relationship in a streetcar named desire, female powerlessness in the duchess of malfi and a streetcar named desire, a comparison between the plastic theatre and expressionism in a streetcar named desire, morality and immorality in a streetcar named desire and the picture of dorian gray, oppositions and their purpose in "a streetcar named desire" and "the birthday party", how femininity and masculinity are presented in ariel and a streetcar named desire, tennessee williams’ depiction of blanche as a casualty as illustrated in his play, a streetcar named desire, history defined the themes of a streetcar named desire, comparing social and ethnic tensions in a streetcar named desire and blues for mister charlie, the use of contrast as a literary device at the beginning of a streetcar named desire.

December 3, 1947, Tennessee Williams

Play; Southern Gothic

The French Quarter and Downtown New Orleans

Blanche DuBois, Stella Kowalski, Stanley Kowalski, Harold "Mitch" Mitchell

1. Vlasopolos, A. (1986). Authorizing History: Victimization in" A Streetcar Named Desire". Theatre Journal, 38(3), 322-338. (https://www.jstor.org/stable/3208047) 2. Corrigan, M. A. (1976). Realism and Theatricalism in A Streetcar Named Desire. Modern Drama, 19(4), 385-396. (https://muse.jhu.edu/pub/50/article/497088/summary) 3. Quirino, L. (1983). The Cards Indicate a Voyage on'A Streetcar Named Desire'. Contemporary Literary Criticism, 30. (https://go.gale.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CH1100001571&sid=googleScholar&v=2.1&it=r&linkaccess=abs&issn=00913421&p=LitRC&sw=w&userGroupName=anon%7E8abc495e) 4. Corrigan, M. A. (2019). Realism and Theatricalism in A Streetcar Named Desire. In Essays on Modern American Drama (pp. 27-38). University of Toronto Press. (https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.3138/9781487577803-004/html?lang=de) 5. Van Duyvenbode, R. (2001). Darkness Made Visible: Miscegenation, Masquerade and the Signified Racial Other in Tennessee Williams' Baby Doll and A Streetcar Named Desire. Journal of American Studies, 35(2), 203-215. (https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-american-studies/article/abs/darkness-made-visible-miscegenation-masquerade-and-the-signified-racial-other-in-tennessee-williams-baby-doll-and-a-streetcar-named-desire/B73C386D2422793FB8DC00E0B79B7331) 6. Cahir, L. C. (1994). The Artful Rerouting of A Streetcar Named Desire. Literature/Film Quarterly, 22(2), 72. (https://www.proquest.com/openview/7040761d75f7fd8f9bf37a2f719a28a4/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=5938) 7. Silvio, J. R. (2002). A Streetcar Named Desire—Psychoanalytic Perspectives. Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry, 30(1), 135-144. (https://guilfordjournals.com/doi/abs/10.1521/jaap.30.1.135.21985) 8. Griffies, W. S. (2007). A streetcar named desire and tennessee Williams' object‐relational conflicts. International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 4(2), 110-127. (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/aps.127) 9. Shackelford, D. (2000). Is There a Gay Man in This Text?: Subverting the Closet in A Streetcar Named Desire. In Literature and Homosexuality (pp. 135-159). Brill. (https://brill.com/display/book/9789004483460/B9789004483460_s010.xml)

Relevant topics

  • Macbeth Ambition
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Antigone Tragic Hero
  • The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Hamlet Theme
  • Merchant of Venice

By clicking “Check Writers’ Offers”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy . We’ll occasionally send you promo and account related email

No need to pay just yet!

Bibliography

We use cookies to personalyze your web-site experience. By continuing we’ll assume you board with our cookie policy .

  • Instructions Followed To The Letter
  • Deadlines Met At Every Stage
  • Unique And Plagiarism Free

essay for a street car named desire

Literary Theory and Criticism

Home › Drama Criticism › Analysis of Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire

Analysis of Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire

By NASRULLAH MAMBROL on October 13, 2020 • ( 0 )

Tennessee Williams ‘s (March 26, 1911 – February 25, 1983) A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), is generally regarded as his best. Initial reaction was mixed, but there would be little argument now that it is one of the most powerful plays in the modern theater. Like The Glass Menagerie , it concerns, primarily, a man and two women and a “gentleman caller.” As in The Glass Menagerie , one of the women is very much aware of the contrast between the present and her southern-aristocratic past; one woman (Stella) is practical if not always adequately aware, while the other (Blanche) lives partly in a dream world and teeters on the brink of psychosis; the gentleman caller could perhaps save the latter were circumstances somewhat different; and the play’s single set is a slum apartment. It is located in Elysian Fields, a section of the French Quarter of New Orleans. The action takes place in the downstairs two-room apartment rented by the Kowalskis.

essay for a street car named desire

Marlon Brando and Kim Hunter in the 1951 adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire

Stella Kowalski relaxes in a shabby armchair in the bedroom of the small apartment. She eats chocolates and reads a movie magazine. Stella’s husband, Stanley Kowalski, enters, carrying a package of meat dripping with blood and yelling for his wife. Stanley tosses the meat to Stella, who catches it in a surprised reaction. Stanley leaves to go bowling with his friends, and Stella decides to tag along. She hurriedly primps in the living room mirror, quickly closes the apartment door behind her, and says hello to Eunice Hubbell and a Negro Woman who are sitting on the landing. As she exits, the two women laugh about Stanley’s lack of manners.

Blanche DuBois enters. She is carrying a small suitcase and a piece of paper. She is a fading Southern belle, whose appearance suggests she is going to a garden party, but her search for her sister, Stella, has landed her in the slums of the French Quarter. Eunice notices the confused Blanche, and she asks whether she is lost. Blanche explains that she was instructed to take a streetcar named Desire to Elysian Fields via a streetcar called Cemetery. Eunice informs her that she is indeed in the right place. Eunice lets her into the Kowalskis’ apartment to wait for Stella while the Negro Woman fetches Stella from the bowling alley. Blanche has arrived unannounced, and she is shocked to discover Stella living in such a dismal place.

Blanche searches for a drink, and Stella enters. The two sisters are ecstatic to be reunited. Blanche speaks excitedly, overwhelming Stella with criticism of the apartment. Stella is speechless and hurt by these remarks, and she notices that Blanche is shaking and anxious. Stella is concerned by her sister’s behavior, and she attempts to calm her nerves by offering her a drink. Blanche urges Stella to explain why she is living in such depressing conditions. Blanche says she has taken a leave of absence from her high school teaching job. She says that she is having a difficult time and needed a break. Blanche mentions the weight Stella has gained, and she compliments her on her appearance; however, Stella knows that her sister is being critical. Blanche demands that Stella stand so she can fully analyze the size of her hips, her less than perfect haircut. She asks Stella about having a maid, but the Kowalskis’ apartment only consists of two rooms. Blanche is horrified by this news. She pours another drink to curb her intolerance of the place. Blanche has been lonely; she feels her sister abandoned her when she left Mississippi and their father died. Blanche admits that she is not well. Stella insists that her sister stay at the apartment, and she directs her to a folding bed. She insists that Stanley will not mind the lack of privacy, as he is Polish. Stella advises her sister that Stanley is unlike the Southern gentlemen they knew back in Laurel, Mississippi. She confesses he is ill mannered, but she is madly in love with him.

Blanche confesses that she has lost Belle Reve, the family plantation. Blanche expresses her resentment of her sister because she was “in bed with [her] Polack” while Blanche scraped and clawed to hold on to Belle Reve. Stella is very upset to know that they have lost their homestead. Blanche bitterly blames the foreclosure on the many deaths in the family. Blanche is plagued with guilt, as well as being hopelessly adrift, and she projects her feelings of loss onto Stella, who runs into the bathroom to escape her sister’s wrath.

Stanley returns home. He shouts to his friends, Steve Hubbell and Mitch (Harold Mitchell), from the stairwell. Blanche speaks to him before he notices her presence. Stanley is cordial to her and asks for Stella, who has locked herself away in the bathroom. He offers Blanche another shot of whiskey, noticing that the bottle has already been sampled. Blanche declines the offer, stating that she rarely drinks. Her obvious dishonesty spurs Stanley to ask some very personal questions regarding her past, namely, about her husband. He sheds his sweaty shirt to find relief in the summer heat and welcomes her to stay with them. Upset by his meddlesome inquiries, Blanche replies that her young husband is dead. She grows nauseous discussing this subject and has to sit down to regain her composure.

Around six o’clock the following evening, Blanche and Stella plan to have dinner out and see a movie while Stanley and his friends have a poker night in the apartment. While Blanche readies herself in the bathroom, Stella tells Stanley that Belle Reve has been lost. She also warns him not to mention that she is pregnant because Blanche is already so unstable. Stanley is most concerned with the loss of the estate. He suspects Blanche sold the plantation and kept all of the profits for herself. Referring to the Napoleonic Code, Stanley wants to know whether he has been swindled. To find proof of the foreclosure he rummages through Blanche’s trunk. Appraising the furs and jewelry she has, he urges Stella to acknowledge that Blanche has deceived her. Stella fears the looming confrontation, so she escapes to the porch.

When Blanche emerges from her hot bath and realizes that Stella is not around, she flirts with Stanley as a means of winning him over; however, he is interested only in the profits from Belle Reve. When Stanley accuses Blanche of selling the plantation and keeping all of the money, she insists that she has never cheated anyone in her life. She says, “I know I fib a good deal. After all, a woman’s charm is fifty percent illusion, but when a thing is important, I tell the truth.” Stanley rifles through the trunk again, searching for documents that will prove Blanche is lying. Stanley discovers yellowing letters held together by aging ribbons, and he withholds these visibly precious items until she pulls two manila envelopes from her belongings. Blanche says that his touch has contaminated her cherished love letters. She tells Stanley that this paperwork is all that is left of the plantation, and he continues berating her by demanding to know how she could allow the foreclosure to happen. Blanche recoils with anger and retorts that the plantation has been lost by generations of negligent men who “exchanged the land for their epic fornications.” Stanley intends to have the documents read by a lawyer friend, and Blanche invites him to do so. Now that Stanley has been proved wrong, he justifies his concern with the fact that Stella is pregnant. This is a happy digression for Blanche, who is genuinely excited by this information. When Stella returns, Blanche expresses her joy about the baby. She brags that she handled Stanley and even flirted with him. The two sisters leave as Stanley’s friends arrive for their poker night.

Later that night in the Kowalski apartment, Stanley and his friends are still drinking and playing cards. Stella and Blanche return at 2:30 A.M., and Stanley asks them to visit Eunice until the game is over. When Stella does not comply, Stanley slaps her backside as a means of countering her disobedience in front of his friends. Blanche is intrigued by Mitch, who is uninterested in the poker game because he is worried about his ailing mother. Blanche is immediately attracted to his sensitivity. The two introduce themselves. Mitch offers her a cigarette, showing her the inscription on his cigarette case. She immediately recognizes it as the poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Mitch explains the case is from a former girlfriend who died. Mitch’s story of his former lover resonates with Blanche’s own sense of loss of her young husband, Allan Grey. She tells Mitch, “Sorrow makes for sincerity,” and continues, “Show me a person that hasn’t known sorrow and I’ll show you a superficial person.” She asks Mitch to cover the naked lightbulb with a Chinese lantern she recently purchased.

Stanley grows more inebriated and increasingly irritated by the music Blanche is playing. He crosses the room, rips the radio from the wall, and throws it out of the window. He hits Stella when she tries to stop him. Humiliated and stunned, Stella runs into the kitchen area and orders Stanley’s friends to leave. Stanley chases and attacks Stella. Blanche begs Mitch to stop him, and the men restrain Stanley on the sofa. Blanche whisks Stella to Eunice’s apartment upstairs while the men attempt to sober Stanley. After a cold shower, he stumbles out of the bathroom, goes out onto the porch, and yells up to Stella. He continues to shout for Stella, who descends the stairs and returns to him. Stanley falls to his knees, pressing his head against her legs. Kissing passionately, the couple retreat to their bedroom. Blanche runs down after Stella. When she discovers them making love, she is angered by her sister’s weakness. Mitch calls out to Blanche. They share another cigarette. Blanche is thankful for Mitch’s kindness.

Early the next morning, Blanche returns to the Kowalski apartment after spending the night at Eunice and Steve’s apartment. When she realizes Stella is alone, she hugs her with nervous concern. Stella, on the other hand, is cheerful and content. Stella blames liquor and poker for Stanley’s behavior. She explains to her sister that she gets a thrill from her husband’s extreme actions. Blanche is infuriated. She says Stella has married a “madman.” While Blanche devises an escape plan for them, Stella tidies the apartment. Stella says she is happy with Stanley. Blanche is still bewildered by Stella’s cool resignation.

Blanche remembers an old beau, Shep Huntleigh, whom she plans to call on for their escape, but Stella does not want to be rescued. Blanche compares Stanley to an ape. During this conversation, Stanley has returned unnoticed. He has heard everything that has been said. All of Blanche’s persuading has been in vain: When Stella sees Stanley, she runs over and jumps into his arms.

Blanche has been living at the Kowalskis’ apartment for three months. While she finishes writing a letter to Shep about imaginary cocktail parties she has been attending, Stanley enters. He slams drawers and creates noise to express his irritation by Blanche’s presence. To provoke Stanley, she asks him his astrological sign. He remarks that he is a Capricorn (the goat) and Blanche replies she is Virgo, the sign of the virgin. Stanley laughs and asks her about a man by the last name of Shaw who claims to have spent an evening with Blanche at the Flamingo Hotel. Blanche adamantly denies this accusation, but her face registers panic and alarm. Stanley is victorious and exits to go bowling.

Analysis of Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie

Blanche becomes hysterical. She asks Stella whether she has heard rumors about her, but Stella gracefully denounces gossip. Blanche confesses that she did not maintain a good reputation when she was losing Belle Reve. She admits her fears of being a “soft” person, of needing people too much, and of her fading beauty. Blanche fears she will not be able to “turn the trick” much longer because she is visibly aging. She also confesses that she lied about her age to Mitch because she wants him to fall in love with her. Blanche has presented an illusion of herself as a prim and proper woman to Mitch. Stella is accustomed to Blanche’s nervous tirades, and she pays little attention to what her sister is actually saying. Stella comforts her by pouring her a drink. A young boy stops by the apartment selling newspapers. On his way out, Blanche calls him back inside and kisses him. Blanche chastises herself for putting “her hands” on the boy. He leaves and Mitch arrives with a bouquet of roses for her.

Later that night, Blanche and Mitch return from a disappointing date. Blanche blames herself for the dull evening. Mitch asks whether he may kiss her good night, and she consents but says their actions can go no further because she is a single woman. Stanley and Stella are not home, so Blanche invites Mitch in for a nightcap. Blanche plays the coquette while Mitch perspires with desire for her. While she searches for a bottle of whiskey, Blanche asks Mitch in French whether he would like to sleep with her. She comments that it is a good thing Mitch does not understand French. She encourages him to take off his coat, but he is embarrassed by his sweatiness. Blanche asserts that he is just a healthy man.

When Mitch suggests that the four of them go out together sometime, Blanche makes it clear that Stanley hates her. She asks whether Stanley has said anything derogatory about her. Mitch replies that he does not understand how Stanley could behave so rudely to her. Blanche says she plans to leave as soon as Stella has the baby.

Mitch asks Blanche her age, and Blanche refuses to answer. He explains that he asks because he has been with his mother talking about her. Blanche presumes Mitch will be very lonely when his mother dies. She explains that she knows this sort of loneliness firsthand because her one true love has passed away. She tells Mitch about Allan’s tenderness and sensitivity and says that she never understood him until she discovered he was having an affair with an older man. Blanche explains that Allan needed her to help him, but she could not see what was happening until it was too late. She confronted him while they were drunk at a dance at Moon Lake Casino. Her words provoked him to run to the edge of the lake and commit suicide. She can still hear the polka music that was playing during the time. Blanche cannot forgive herself for condemning Allan’s desires and pushing him to such drastic measures. She compares her love for Allan to a“blinding light.” Mitch answers that they are both lonely, and they both need someone. The polka tune that continually plays in Blanche’s mind ceases. Mitch and Blanche embrace with thoughts of marriage.

Several weeks later, Stanley arrives home after a day of work to find the apartment decorated for Blanche’s birthday party. He is disgruntled to know that Blanche is taking a hot bath, making the apartment even hotter and increasingly unbearable. Stanley proudly announces to Stella that he has found out the real story behind her sister’s extended visit. She was fired from her teaching job because she had an indecent relationship with a 17-year-old boy and set up residency at the Flamingo Hotel, which she was then forced to leave because of her sexual excesses. She has become the laughingstock of Laurel, Mississippi. Stella is profoundly stunned by this information, and she tries to defend Blanche by explaining the tragic situation with Allan. Stanley informs Stella that he felt it was his duty to warn his friend about Blanche. Blanche calls for a towel and notices a strained expression on Stella’s face, but Stella assures her nothing is wrong. Stella is fraught with worry about what will happen to Blanche now that Mitch is likely to abandon her. Stanley implies that Mitch may not be through with Blanche, but he certainly will not marry her. He remarks that he bought Blanche a bus ticket back to Laurel. Stanley yells for Blanche to get out of the bathroom so that he can use it. Sensing something is wrong, Blanche cautiously enters the room.

Nearly one hour passes. Stella, Stanley, and Blanche are eating dinner. Blanche is trying to ignore the empty chair where Mitch would be sitting. Blanche tries to lighten the mood of the party by telling a joke, but no one finds it funny. Stella says Stanley is “too busy making a pig of himself.” She instructs him to wash up and help her clean the table. Stanley flies into a rage, sweeping the table’s contents to the floor, and declares that he is the king in his home. When Stanley leaves the table and goes out onto the porch, Blanche begs Stella to tell her what is going on. Blanche calls Mitch’s home while Stella chastises her husband for passing rumors to Mitch. Stanley presents the bus ticket to Blanche. She runs into the bedroom crying. Stella yells at Stanley for being so terrible to Blanche. Stanley reminds his wife that she loves his commonness, especially at night in their bedroom. As he shouts for Blanche, Stella doubles over with pain. She is rushed to the hospital.

Later that evening, Blanche sits alone in the darkness of the apartment drinking liquor. Mitch enters wearing his work uniform. Although he is dirty and unshaven, she admits that she is happy to see him, as his presence stops the polka music that otherwise persistently plays in her mind. She searches for more liquor to serve him, but he declines drinking Stanley’s liquor. Mitch inquires why Blanche keeps the apartment so dark and insists on seeing him only at night. He wants to turn on the light, but Blanche begs him to allow the magic (illusions) to continue. When he wrenches the lantern off the lightbulb, Blanche’s aged face is revealed. He proceeds to tell her what he has heard about her promiscuous life in Laurel. Blanche immediately pleads that after Allan and the loss of Belle Reve, she could only find relief from the pain in the arms of strangers. A vendor is heard outside selling flowers for the dead. This sparks Blanche to talk about all of the deaths in her life. She says she was “played out” when she finally landed in New Orleans. She found solace and love with Mitch, believing that she could possibly find happiness and rest. Mitch embraces her, and she pleads for marriage. Mitch says she is unsuitable. He pulls her hair and demands the physical intimacy she has denied him all summer. Blanche orders him to leave, and when he does not, she runs to the window and shouts, “Fire!” This action prompts Mitch to leave.

A few hours later, Blanche is still alone and drinking heavily. She is wearing an old gown and a rhinestone tiara. Stanley enters carrying liquor. He informs Blanche that Stella will not have the baby before the morning, so he has come home. Blanche is nervous about being in the apartment alone with Stanley all night. Stanley laughs at her and questions her attire. Blanche announces that she has received a telegram from Shep Huntleigh, inviting her on a cruise to the Caribbean. Stanley retreats to the bedroom and collects the red silk pajamas he wore on his wedding night. When he returns, Blanche says that Mitch came by begging for forgiveness, but she simply could not forgive his cruelty. Stanley angrily denounces her lies. Blanche rushes to the telephone and pleads with the operator to connect her with Shep Huntleigh. When she puts down the phone, Stanley corners her. Blanche retreats to the bedroom, where she smashes a bottle to use as a weapon against him. Stanley lunges at her, grabs the bottle, and gathers Blanche in his arms. She fights him, but he overpowers her, stating that they have had this date with each other from the moment she arrived.

Several weeks later, Stella cries as she packs Blanche’s belongings. Eunice holds the baby while Stanley and his friends play poker. Stella wonders whether she is doing the right thing in sending her sister to the state institution. Eunice responds that if Stella wants to save her marriage, she must believe that Stanley did not rape her sister. Blanche enters from the bathroom with a “hysterical vivacity.” She asks whether Shep has called while she dresses. The doorbell sounds and a doctor and attendant enter to collect Blanche. Blanche wants to leave the apartment, but she does not want to be seen by Mitch, Stanley, and the other men. When she sees that the man at the door is not Shep, she tries to run back into the apartment. Stanley blocks her way. He cruelly tells her that all she has left in this apartment is the paper lantern hanging over the lightbulb. He tears it down and hands it to her. Blanche screams, and Stella rushes to the porch, where Eunice comforts her. The doctor and attendant wrestle Blanche to the ground to restrain her.

Mitch attacks Stanley, blaming him for Blanche’s condition. The men fight and their friends pull them apart. Blanche is helped to her feet. The doctor helps her to the door and she says that she has “always depended on the kindness of strangers.” Stella is heartbroken by the scene. She sobs while the doctor escorts Blanche out of the apartment. Stanley consoles Stella by fondling her breasts. Steve announces the next round of poker.

When asked about the meaning of A Streetcar Named Desire ,Williams responded, “the ravishment of the tender, the sensitive, the delicate, by the savage and brutal forces of modern society” (Haskell, 230). All the characters in Streetcar have been ravished by life to some degree. Although Stanley clearly functions as the most damaging force against Blanche, he, too, has also been forced to grow up too quickly as he spent his youth as a soldier serving in World War II. Reintegration into a mundane, peaceful world does not keep him fulfilled. He is moody and restless, and his animalistic tendencies are challenged by the overly refined Blanche.

Stella is a submissive character, placed in the middle of a war between gentrified society, represented by Blanche, and the rugged, practical world of the working class personified by Stanley. In war there are the victors and the vanquished. Blanche ultimately suffers the most damaging defeat, being institutionalized, while Stanley continues to brutalize his way through life.

In the opening scene of the play, Stanley appears carrying a package of bloody meat, which immediately establishes his primitive nature. In stark contrast, Blanche enters the scene wearing white. Williams compares her to a moth, symbolically stressing her fragility, purity, and virtue. Her pristine attire serves as an effective camouflage for her sordid past. As Chance Wayne (in Sweet Bird of Youth), Sebastian Venable (in Suddenly Last Summer), and Lot (in Kingdom of Earth, or the Seven Descents of Myrtle) do, by wearing white, Blanche uses her clothing to disguise her “degenerate” selfperception. Her name, which is French, literally means “white of the woods.” Out of her unlucky and desperate wilderness, Blanche enters the Kowalski apartment a transformed, mothlike creature of nature, recast as a virginal character. Although she has been a prostitute, Blanche prefers to believe in her renewed chasteness. She lives in a world of illusion and believes that her sexual encounters with strangers never constituted love; therefore, she never forfeited any aspect of her true self.

As has Karen Stone in The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone , Blanche has an aversion to being viewed in bright light that will reveal her true age. As early as the first scene, she asks Stella to turn off the overhead light. Blanche is most comfortable in the warm glow of a lamp that allows her to play the part of the innocent coquette completely. She lies about her age when she courts Mitch and avoids spending time with him in daylight. When Mitch returns in the final meeting with her, he insists on tearing the lantern off the overhead light so that he may finally have a good look at her. When Blanche asks why he wants the glare of bright light, he says he is just being realistic. Blanche replies:

I don’t want realism. I want—magic! . . . Yes, yes, magic! I try to give that to people. I do misrepresent things to them. I don’t tell the truth, I tell what ought to be the truth. And if that’s a sin, then let me be damned for it! Don’t turn the light on!

Of course, Stanley has informed him that she has been lying about everything. However, her mothlike, youthful facade is not just used to fool Mitch; it is an integral part of who she is. Blanche wishes she could actually be what she pretends to be. She resigns from reality because it has been too harsh. The “magic” in which she chooses to dwell is her only means of survival, as her suffering has been so great. She fears that looking her age will further discredit her in a world that has already discarded her.

Blanche also drinks heavily, while pretending to adhere to a Southern gender code that restricts well-bred women from drinking in company or in public. This is another aspect of playing the innocent coquette. Late in the play, Mitch informs Blanche that Stanley has talked about how much of his liquor she has consumed, and she realizes that her subterfuge has failed.

Although it is a means of comfort and relief, alcohol has long been a source of shame and regret for Blanche. She particularly regrets her drunken criticism of Allan because she did not mean the words that drove him to take his own life. Leonard Berkman suggests:

It is not the existence of Allan’s homosexuality that signals the failure of Blanche’s marriage; it is, rather, that Blanche must uncover this information by accident, that Blanche is incapable of responding compassionately to this information, that in short there never existed a marriage between them in which Allan could come to her in full trust and explicit needs. (“The Tragic Downfall of Blanche DuBois,” 2)

Blanche responded to Allan’s sexuality with a sense of wounded pride, and as Brick in CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF does to his friend Skipper, she spends the rest of her life regretting that she did not love and accept him. Blanche responded too harshly. She loved Allan and truly believed in their marriage; however, she lived in a romantic world of delusion until she witnessed a real moment when Allan was having sex with another man, which completely shattered the illusion. As Blanche explains to Mitch:

[Allan] was in the quicksand clutching at me— but I wasn’t holding him out, I was slipping in with him! I didn’t know that. I didn’t know anything except I loved him unendurably but without being able to help him or help myself.

In this instance, it was Blanche who was cruelly responsible for the ravishment (or abuse) of one that was “tender, sensitive, and delicate.”

Allan Grey’s suicide scene is reminiscent of the final scene in The Seagull by Anton Chekhov. When Konstantin can no longer endure his life and the knowledge that he must live without the love he desires, he is drawn to the lake (like a seagull) and shoots himself. Konstantin and Allan are tragically similar characters, who are gravely misunderstood by those around them. Williams was enamored of Chekhov’s characters, finding them dynamically flawed and powerfully present. Chekhov’s dramaturgical influence is inherent in Streetcar , as the psychological reality of the characters creates the dramatic tension and fuels the action to an unavoidable conclusion.

Blanche tells the story of her homosexual husband to Mitch, who could very easily assume that Blanche and Allan’s marriage was never consummated. Even through her tragically truthful tales Blanche continues to create the illusion that she is prim and virginal. This makes the news of her promiscuous past more shocking and insulting to Mitch, who has respected her wish to abstain from sexual intimacy. Blanche presents the person she would like to be: naive, proper, and respectable. Blanche has found an Allan substitute in Mitch. She longs to have an opportunity to re-create that marriage and have a second chance to make up for her cruel past actions. Mitch is the answer as his sensitivity stops the haunting polka music in her mind (i.e., the painful memories of Allan’s death).

Throughout the play, Blanche frequently takes long hot baths in the sweltering heat of a New Orleans summer. This symbolic act of baptism absolves her of her past sins and cleanses her body in preparation for her husband-to-be. She repeatedly purifies her body in water, and in her mind, by each ritual bathing, she creates more distance from the sullied strangers she encountered at the Flamingo Hotel in Laurel. In moments of desperation and self-doubt, Blanche bathes. This repeated action greatly annoys Stanley.

Stanley and Blanche are archenemies because they possess antithetical personalities, and each lays claim to Stella. Whereas Stanley respects complete honesty, Blanche delights in experiencing the world through rose-colored glasses. She spends much of her time rejecting the harshness of life, and Stanley is always there to make her acknowledge the truth. Blanche enjoys the protocol of the Old South; she is nostalgic about the tradition of Southern life, whereas Stanley hates sentimentality. In his production notebook, Elia Kazan writes of Blanche:

Her problem has to do with her tradition. Her notion of what a woman should be. She is stuck with this “ideal.” It is her. It is her ego. Unless she lives by it, she cannot live; in fact her whole life has been for nothing. (Kazan, 22)

Blanche defines her existence according to the traditions of the Old South. She is completely immersed in that world, whereas Stanley symbolizes the new or modern world that is obliterating that former way of living.

Early in the play these two characters clash over the subject of Belle Reve. It is Blanche’s lost, beautiful dream, rich with family heritage and pride; Stanley is interested only in the property’s material or monetary real estate value. He is happy in the loud, harsh, and dirty world of the Vieux Carré of New Orleans, whereas Blanche prefers finer accommodations, the bucolic setting of hundreds of acres of land and large white pillars on a grand veranda that provide lounging quarters out of the midday sun. Some critics see Blanche as Williams’s most representative character, as she has lost the stability of her ancestral home and is now in exile.

According to Kazan, Blanche’s emotional decline begins when she is stripped of her plantation:

The things about the “tradition” in the nineteenth century was that it worked then. It made a woman feel important with her own secure positions and functions, her own special worth. It also made a woman at that time one with her society. But today the tradition is an anachronism which simply does not function. It does not work. So while Blanche must believe it because it makes her special, because it makes her sticking by Belle Reve an act of heroism, rather than an absurd romanticism, still it does not work. . . . She’s a misfit, a liar, her “airs” alienate people, she must act superior to them which alienates them further. (Kazan, 22)

Blanche is one of Williams’s “lost souls,” those characters who are caught between an old and a new world. As are Amanda Wingfield (in The Glass Menagerie ) and Alma Winemiller (in Summer and Smoke ), who also delight in tradition, Blanche is lost in a modern, industrial society because in it she does not have a special position simply by virtue of being a Southern woman. Belle Reve is her identification or authentication as a person, and without it, she does not possess a self and therefore must rely on others to supply stability, security, and substance. Blanche only realizes that she is responsible for her own financial and social status when it is too late. Her “airs” are her tragic flaw in this new world, Stanley’s world, a world that has been changed through hardship and struggles associated with industry, war, and economic depression. Blanche becomes “a last dying relic . . . now adrift in our unfriendly day” (Miller, 23). Although this situation may make her more pitiable, it does not make her less offensive to her peers.

Blanche’s very vocal disapproval of Stanley serves to isolate her from Stella, the one sympathetic person in her life. Her critical opinion of the dismal apartment and of Stanley’s brutish demeanor creates a chasm in the sisters’ relationship, and her chances of familial bonding are sacrificed. Blanche demonstrates her racial prejudices when she calls Stanley a “Polack,” and her gradual, yet persistent provocations lead to her ultimate violation. This act of rape wounds Blanche to a point of no return. The culmination of Stanley’s victory over Blanche occurs when Stella refuses to believe that her sister has been assaulted. Stella sides with her husband as Blanche’s past and world of illusions (or dishonesty) serve to silence her in her most desperate moment.

Williams’s ability to “capture something of the complexity of the novel within the dramatic form, especially in the area of character probity and psychology” (Adler, 9), has set Streetcar apart and is the reason it merits its status not only as a modern classic, but s a watershed moment in U.S. theater history. Essentially, Williams created a new genre in the modern theater: a heightened naturalism that allows dreams (or nightmares) to coexist with reality.

DuBois, Blanche

Described in the opening scene as “mothlike,” Blanche is an aging Southern belle. She is refined, delicate, and steeped in the traditions of Southern gentry. She first appears wearing white, symbolizing her feigned purity and virtuous nature. Blanche is one of Williams’s dreamers, forfeiting reality for a magical or romantic approach to life. She is not concerned with truth, but rather “what ought to be the truth.”

When she was a young woman, Blanche married her true love, Allan Grey. He was tender and sensitive, different from the other men in her life. Although he was not “the least bit effeminate looking,” she learned of his homosexuality when she entered a room uninvited and found Allan having sex with an older male friend. Later that night, the three of them attended a dance at Moon Lake Casino. During this evening of heavy drinking, Blanche confronted Allan about his sexuality while a polka played and lovers danced around them. Devastated by Blanche’s disgust toward him, Allan ran off the dance floor. He found refuge at the edge of the nearby lake, where he shot himself. Blanche is forever haunted by the guilt she feels over Allan’s suicide. She cannot move beyond the loss of her husband, and in moments of desperation she still hears the polka waltz in her mind. She drinks whiskey to cope with her self-reproach, but the cruelty she displayed toward Allan forever torments her.

Blanche’s life continues on a downward spiral with the deaths of several other family members. She is obligated to nurse them, witnessing the slow, torturous deterioration of life. Blanche is forced to earn her living as a high school English teacher because her ancestral home, Belle Reve (which means “beautiful dream” in French), in Laurel, Mississippi, is in danger of foreclosure. Severely lonely and desperate, she finds consolation in the embrace of strange men. When she is fired from her teaching position because of a “morally unfit” liaison with a 17-year-old boy, her reputation is completely ruined. Belle Reve is foreclosed and she is forced to live in a seedy hotel called the Flamingo. Because of her practice of entertaining men at the Flamingo, she is eventually forced to leave that establishment as well.

Destitute and homeless, Blanche travels to New Orleans, taking a “streetcar named Desire” to the slums of Elysian Fields, where her sister, Stella Kowalski, lives with her brutish husband, Stanley Kowalski. She arrives unannounced at the crampedtwo-room apartment. She immediately rejects Stanley because of his unrefined behavior and crude, straightforward response to life. Her worst opinions of Stanley are justified when she witnesses the beatings Stella suffers at the hands of her husband. Blanche believes that “a woman’s charm is fifty percent illusion,” and she clashes with Stanley, who is determined to catch Blanche in all of her lies. Her facade quickly positions her as Stanley’s prime enemy. He is sickened by her exaggerations and false prudishness. Despite her past, Blanche remains married to the ideals of purity, creating the illusion of what she “ought to be.”

Stanley triumphs over her when he finds out about her promiscuous past in Laurel. He destroys her only chance of comfort by relating her sordid past to Mitch (Harold Mitchell), her only and final marriage prospect. Stanley then rapes Blanche, presuming that she has had so many sexual encounters that one more will make no difference. After this act, a deed that Stella refuses to acknowledge, Blanche is wounded once and for all. She loses her grip on reality and finds consolation in a type of magical world that will not allow her to hurt anymore. This world places her at the mercy of “the kindness of strangers.” The strange men in her life are replaced by the medical staff of a mental institution.

Hubbell, Eunice

Eunice is the wife of Steve Hubbell. She and Steve are the upstairs neighbors of Stanley and Stella Kowalski. As do Stanley and Stella, Eunice and Steve have a volatile marital relationship. In many ways, the older couple (Eunice and Steve) mirror Stanley and Stella and offer a vision of what the young couple will be in the future. Eunice is a confidante to Stella, and Eunice eases the younger woman’s transition into a life of denial and compromise. When Stella’s sister, Blanche DuBois, accuses Stanley of rape, Eunice instructs Stella to disavow Blanche’s claims for the sake of her marriage, her child, and her own sanity.

Hubbell, Steve

Steve is the husband of Eunice Hubbell. He and Eunice are the upstairs neighbors of Stanley and Stella Kowalski. As do Stanley and Stella, Eunice and Steve have a volatile marital relationship. In many ways, the older couple (Eunice and Steve) mirror Stanley and Stella and offer a vision of what the young couple will be in the future.

Kowalski, Stanley

He is a strong, brutish man of Polish descent. Stanley is a former soldier, who fought during World War II and who now lives in the mundane world of factory work. He is cruelly honest. His pastimes include bowling, drinking, playing poker with his friends and having sex with his wife, Stella Kowalski. Stanley enjoys the comforts of Stella’s love. Although he is unrefined, loud, and quick-tempered, he possesses a simplicity which makes him desirable to Stella. There is also an animal attraction between Stanley and Stella, and their relationship is based not on communication but on physical attraction. In the stage directions of Streetcar , Williams describes him as a “gaudy seed bearer [who] sizes women up at a glance.”

Stanley revels in the fact that Stella is from an old aristocratic Southern family and that she has rejected upper-crust society to live with him in a tenement house in the slums of New Orleans. Stanley functions with very basic objectives. He is strongwilled and responds to adversity with violence.

When his sister-in-law, Blanche DuBois, moves in, Stanley feels threatened by her presence and her rejection of his way of life. He does not like to share what is his: his wife, his liquor, and his apartment. When he finds out that the DuBois plantation, Belle Reve, has been foreclosed, he immediately demands proof that Blanche did not sell it and keep the money. Stanley expects to share any profits, as he is Stella’s husband. Stella and Blanche are personally devastated by the loss of their ancestral home; Stanley is only concerned with the practical, monetary side of the situation. He has no way of comprehending the emotional loss of such a thing. In addition, Blanche’s large personality leaves little room for him to be the center of attention. The two engage in a power struggle that draws out the worst in Stanley’s personality. The tension created by Blanche’s presence provokes Stanley to beat Stella and to seek a way to ruin his sister-in-law.

He triumphs over Blanche after searching for the truth of her disreputable past. When he has gathered this ammunition, he informs Blanche’s only marriage prospect, Mitch (Harold Mitchell)of her sordid past. By this he is able to pierce the virginal facade that Blanche has used to manipulate and control. Stella defends her sister by explaining that she has had a tragic past and she is weak, but Stanley is interested only in survival of the fittest. He rapes Blanche and denies that he did to Stella. This is Stanley’s ultimate triumph. In the end, Blanche is taken to a mental institution while Stanley comforts his wife by fondling her breasts.

Kowalski, Stella

She is the wife of Stanley Kowalski and the sister of Blanche DuBois. Stella is a member of a very refined and dignified Southern family, who has chosen to cast off her social status in exchange for marriage to Stanley, a vulgar and often brutal simpleton. She is caught in the war between Stanley and Blanche, whose constant bickering and fighting leads to Stanley’s sexually assaulting Blanche. Stella refuses to believe that her husband would rape her sister. After her accusations of rape, Stella commits Blanche to a mental institution. As does her sister, Stella glosses over harsh reality to live in the world of illusions to cope with Stanley’s abhorrent behavior.

Mitchell, Harold (Mitch)

A middle-aged man whose dedication to his ailing mother leaves him lonely and troubled. Mitch falls in love with Blanche Dubois, a refined, yet fading Southern belle. They engage in a respectable courtship, and Blanche insists on delaying sexual relations until they are married. When Stanley Kowalski informs Mitch of Blanche’s sordid past as a prostitute, he is shocked and offended that she has made him wait for sexual intimacy.

FURTHER READING Adler, Thomas P. A Streetcar Named Desire: The Moth and The Lantern. Boston: Twayne, 1990. Berkman, Leonard. “The Tragic Downfall of Blanche DuBois,” Modern Drama 10, no. 2 (December 1967): 249–257. Kazan, Elia. “Notebook for A Streetcar Named Desire,” in Twentieth Century Interpretations of A Streetcar Named Desire: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Jordan Y. Miller. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice- Hall, 1971, pp. 21–26. Shaw, Irwin. “Masterpiece,” in Twentieth Century Interpretations of A Streetcar Named Desire: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Jordan Y. Miller. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1971, pp. 45–47. Sova, Dawn B. Forbidden Films: Censorship Histories of 125 Motion Pictures. New York: Facts On File, 2001.

Share this:

Categories: Drama Criticism , Literature

Tags: A Streetcar Named Desire , A Streetcar Named Desire Analysis , A Streetcar Named Desire Critical Reading , A Streetcar Named Desire Criticism , A Streetcar Named Desire Essay , A Streetcar Named Desire Guide , A Streetcar Named Desire Lecture , A Streetcar Named Desire PDF , A Streetcar Named Desire Summary , A Streetcar Named Desire Themes , American Literature , Analysis of Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire , Bibliography of Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire , Character Study of Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire , Criticism of Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire , Essays of Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire , Literary Criticism , Literary Theory , Notes of Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire , Plot of Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire , Simple Analysis of Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire , Study Guides of Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire , Summary of Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire , Synopsis of Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire , Tennessee Williams , Theatre Studies , Themes of Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire

Related Articles

essay for a street car named desire

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Awaken English

All things Educational. Sharing resources for Secondary English

A Streetcar Named Desire: Essay Questions

A list of potential essay questions to form revision and speed planning practice

‘Stella is the lynchpin within the play for better or for worse’ In light of this statement, explore William’s presentation of relationships in A Streetcar Named Desire. In your answer, you must consider relevant contextual factors.

‘Shame lies at the heart of each character’ In light of this statement, explore William’s presentation of self and identity in A Streetcar Named Desire. In your answer, you must consider relevant contextual factors.

‘A Streetcar Named Desire is a play emblematic of the modern era’ In light of this statement, explore William’s presentation of time and place in A Streetcar Named Desire. In your answer, you must consider relevant contextual factors.

‘Abuse is normalised as the strong dominate the weak’ In light of this statement, explore William’s presentation of power in A Streetcar Named Desire. In your answer, you must consider relevant contextual factors.

Examine the view that the conflict between Stanley and Blanche is primarily based on their difference in social class.

‘A play about secrets and the catastrophic consequences of their exposure’ In light of this statement explore Williams’ presentation of secrets and their revelation in A Streetcar named Desire .

To what extent can Blanche DuBois be considered a victim in A Streetcar named Desire ?

Discuss the importance of the past in A Streetcar named Desire .

‘This play explores the clash between two cultures not, two individuals’ Consider this perspective in A Streetcar named Desire .

‘The play essentially reveals to us the vulnerability of human beings’ Examine this view in A Streetcar named Desire .

Explore Williams’ use of music in the play, is it much more than a naturalistic device?

Blanche believes the opposite to death is desire. How is this theme developed throughout the play?

Discuss the role of music and other sound effects in A Streetcar named Desire .

Explore themes of morality in A Streetcar named Desire .

Share this:

10 thoughts on “ a streetcar named desire: essay questions ”.

This is a topic that’s close to my heart… Take care! Where are your contact details though?

Great stuff, thanks!:) Just wondering when this was created / last updated so I know how many more will be easily accessible?

When someone writes an post he/she retains the thought of a user in his/her mind that how a user can be aware of it. Therefore that’s why this piece of writing is perfect. Thanks!

Admiring the time and energy you put into your website and in depth information you present. It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed information. Wonderful read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

Great blog you’ve got here.. It’s hard to find excellent writing like yours nowadays. I seriously appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I don’t know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

Well I truly enjoyed studying it. This article offered by you is very effective for correct planning.

I am гegular visitor, how are you everybody? This paragraph posted at this web site is really niⅽe.

Excellent website. A lot of useful info here. I am sending it to a few buddies ans additionally sharing in delicious. And obviously, thank you on your effort!

Thanks for this fantastic post, I am glad I noticed this web site on yahoo.

Leave a comment Cancel reply

' src=

  • Already have a WordPress.com account? Log in now.
  • Subscribe Subscribed
  • Copy shortlink
  • Report this content
  • View post in Reader
  • Manage subscriptions
  • Collapse this bar

A Streetcar Named Desire

By tennessee williams, a streetcar named desire themes, fantasy/illusion.

Blanche dwells in illusion; fantasy is her primary means of self-defense, both against outside threats and against her own demons. But her deceits carry no trace of malice, but rather they come from her weakness and inability to confront the truth head-on. She is a quixotic figure, seeing the world not as it is but as it ought to be. Fantasy has a liberating magic that protects her from the tragedies she has had to endure. Throughout the play, Blanche's dependence on illusion is contrasted with Stanley's steadfast realism, and in the end it is Stanley and his worldview that win. To survive, Stella must also resort to a kind of illusion, forcing herself to believe that Blanche's accusations against Stanley are false so that she can continue living with her husband.

The Old South and the New South

Stella and Blanche come from a world that is rapidly dying. Belle Reve, their family's ancestral plantation, has been lost, and the two sisters are the last living members of their family and, symbolically, of their old world of cavaliers and cotton fields. Their strain of Old South was not conquered by the march of General Sherman's army, but by the steady march of time, and as Blanche's beauty fades with age so too do these vestiges of that civilization gone with the wind. Blanche attempts to stay back in the past but it is impossible, and Stella only survives by mixing her DuBois blood with the common stock of the Kowalskis; the old South can only live on in a diluted, bastardized form.

The only unforgivable crime, according to Blanche, is deliberate cruelty. This sin is Stanley's specialty. His final assault against Blanche is a merciless attack against an already-beaten foe. Blanche, on the other hand, is dishonest but she never lies out of malice. Her cruelty is unintentional; often, she lies in a vain or misguided effort to please. Throughout the play, we see the full range of cruelty, from Blanche's well-intentioned deceits to Stella self-deceiving treachery to Stanley's deliberate and unchecked malice. In Williams' plays, there are many ways to hurt someone. And some are worse than others.

The Primitive and the Primal

Blanche often speaks of Stanley as ape-like and primitive. Stanley represents a very unrefined manhood, a Romantic idea of man untouched by civilization and its effeminizing influences. His appeal is clear: Stella cannot resist him, and even Blanche, though repulsed, is on some level drawn to him. Stanley's unrefined nature also includes a terrifying amorality. The service of his desire is central to who he is; he has no qualms about driving his sister-in-law to madness, or raping her. In Freudian terms, Stanley is pure id, while Blanche represents the super-ego and Stella the ego – but the balancing between the id and super-ego is not found only in Stella's mediation, but in the tension between these forces within Blanche herself. She finds Stanley's primitivism so threatening precisely because it is something she sees, and hides, within her.

Closely related to the theme above, desire is the central theme of the play. Blanche seeks to deny it, although we learn later in the play that desire is one of her driving motivations; her desires have caused her to be driven out of town. Physical desire, and not intellectual or spiritual intimacy, is the heart of Stella's and Stanley's relationship, but Williams makes it clear that this does not make their bond any weaker. Desire is also Blanche's undoing, because she cannot find a healthy way of dealing with her natural urges - she is always either trying to suppress them or pursuing them with abandon.

The companion theme to desire is loneliness, and between these two extremes, Blanche is lost. She desperately seeks companionship and protection in the arms of strangers. And she has never recovered from her tragic and consuming love for her first husband. Blanche is in need of a defender. But in New Orleans, she will find instead the predatory and merciless Stanley.

Desire vs Cemeteries / Romance vs Realism

The fundamental tension of the play is this play between the romantic and the realistic, played out in parallel in the pairing of lust and death. Blanche takes the streetcars named Desire and Cemeteries, and like the French's "la petite mort," those cars and the themes they symbolize run together to Blanche's final destination. This dichotomy is present in nearly every element of the play, from the paired characterizations of Blanche the romantic and Stanley the realist, to how all of Blanche's previous sexual encounters are tangled up with death, to the actual names of the streetcars.

GradeSaver will pay $15 for your literature essays

A Streetcar Named Desire Questions and Answers

The Question and Answer section for A Streetcar Named Desire is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

What is the significance of the hand mirror Blanche looks into in this scene? What does she confront through this action?

I see no evidence of a hand mirror in Scene V. Please provide the text in question.

The difference between Blanche and Stanley’s social background is shown through their way of speaking. What are some quotes from scene 2 to support the following statements

STANLEY: What's all this monkey doings?

Blanche explains that she knows she fibs a lot, because "after all, a woman's charm is fifty percent illusion"

You can clearly see the difference in diction.

strange man

re you referring to Streetcar Named Desire?

Study Guide for A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire study guide contains a biography of Tennessee Williams, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

  • About A Streetcar Named Desire
  • A Streetcar Named Desire Summary
  • Character List

Essays for A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of A Streetcar Named Desire.

  • Chekhov's Influence on the Work of Tennessee Williams
  • Morality and Immorality (The Picture of Dorian Gray and A Streetcar Named Desire)
  • Traditionalism versus Defiance in a Streetcar Named Desire
  • Comparing Social and Ethnic Tensions in A Streetcar Named Desire and Blues for Mister Charlie
  • The Wolf's Jaws: Brutality and Abandonment in A Streetcare Named Desire

Lesson Plan for A Streetcar Named Desire

  • About the Author
  • Study Objectives
  • Introduction to A Streetcar Named Desire
  • Relationship to Other Books
  • Notes to the Teacher

Wikipedia Entries for A Streetcar Named Desire

  • Introduction
  • Stage productions
  • Adaptations

essay for a street car named desire

A Streetcar Named Desire: Language and Imagery

Understanding language and imagery.

  • “A Streetcar Named Desire” is celebrated for its rich language and vivid imagery which helps communicate the tensions, themes and personalities of the characters.
  • Tennessee Williams cleverly uses various literary devices such as symbolism, metaphors, and figurative language to add layers of interpretation to the play.
  • Understanding this can enhance one’s appreciation of the depth of portrayal and insightfulness of the play.
  • The streetcar itself is a powerful symbol, reflecting the path that Blanche has taken in her life. Its name - ‘Desire’ - represents her past promiscuity while ‘Cemeteries’, its final destination, could represent the end of Blanche’s life as she knows it.
  • Light and Darkness : Blanche’s constant need to hide her age and her past is emphasized through the frequent mentions of light, shadows and darkness. Light represents reality, which Blanche fears, while darkness stands for illusion and secrecy.
  • The paper lantern she puts over the bulb is another symbol representing her attempts to mask and soften the harsh truth of her life.

Metaphors and Figurative Language

  • Animalistic Imagery : Williams frequently uses animal metaphors particularly to describe Stanley’s behaviour, emphasizing his primal, raw, and physical nature.
  • Floral Imagery : Blanche is often associated with flowers, signifying her frailty, delicacy and transient beauty.
  • Tarantula Arms : This metaphor underscores Stanley’s predatory nature against Blanche’s delicate vulnerability.

Significant Quotes

  • “They told me to take a streetcar named Desire, and then transfer to one called Cemeteries and ride six blocks and get off at - Elysian Fields!” – Blanche’s arrival sets up the symbolic trajectory of her character through the play.
  • “I can hardly stand it when he is away for the night” - Stella’s description of Stanley uses sensual, passionate language that demonstrates their carnal relationship.
  • Stanley’s description of Blanche as “the Queen of the Nile setting in state” is heavily saturated with sarcasm , highlighting his sneering contempt for her pretentious airs.

Key Themes Highlighted Through Language and Imagery

  • Illusion vs. reality : The deceptive nature of Blanche’s character and her desire to escape the reality of her past are amplified through symbolic use of light and darkness.
  • Animalistic Desire : Stanley’s raw and primitive character is emphasized through repeated use of animal metaphors.
  • Decay and death : The journey of the streetcar and its final destination, the decay of Blanche’s beauty and former life, all point towards the pervading theme of decay and death.

Studying the Use of Language and Imagery

  • An understanding of Williams’ use of language and imagery adds depth to the character analyis, offering insights into their motivations, conflicts, and complex personalities.
  • Attention to these details will provide a richer analysis in your critical essay, supporting your interpretations and arguments with textual evidence.

107 A Streetcar Named Desire Essay Questions, Topics, & Examples

Welcome to our list of best A Streetcar Named Desire essay topics! Here, you will find interesting ideas for discussions, essay questions, Streetcar Named Desire research titles, and more. In addition, if you click on the links, you can read excellent A Streetcar Named Desire essay examples!

🔝 Top 10 A Streetcar Named Desire Essay Topics

🏆 best a streetcar named desire topic ideas & essay examples, 🔎 good research topics about a streetcar named desire, 🖊️ interesting a streetcar named desire essay topics.

  • ❓ A Streetcar Named Desire Essay Questionse

✍️ A Streetcar Named Desire Essay Prompts

  • Blanche’s Descent into Madness
  • Blanche DuBois as a Tragic Heroine
  • The New vs. the Old South in the Play
  • Reality vs. Illusion in Williams’ Play
  • The Tragic Downfall of Blanche DuBois
  • Light vs. Darkness in A Streetcar Named Desire
  • Stella and Blanche’s Struggle for Autonomy
  • Stanley Kowalski as a Symbol of Masculinity
  • Music and Sound in A Streetcar Named Desire
  • How Social Status Shaped the Characters’ Lives in the Play
  • Stanley and Blanche Relationship in A Streetcar Named Desire The “impurity” of Blanche’s past suggests the final of the play and it is a quite logical completion of the story.
  • Blanche’s Lies in “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams Laurel is the hometown of Blanche DuBois. The lies of Blanche DuBois were concocted to win male suitors.
  • Vulnerability in “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams The author manages to demonstrate the power of vulnerability and raw emotions through the play’s characters, which keeps the story full of tension and interesting dynamics.
  • Comparison: Death of a Salesman and A Streetcar Named Desire In the Death of a Salesman, Willy, the protagonist, is lost in the illusion that the American dream is only achievable via superficial qualities of likeability and attractiveness.
  • Tennessee Williams’ Play “A Streetcar Named Desire” Williams’ view towards the ideas of illusion and reality works to highlight the fact that reality will always overcome fantasy and the two cannot coexist peacefully, and while we cannot completely admire Stanley in his […]
  • Female Characters in A Streetcar Named Desire & The Great Gatsby: Comparative It can be seen in the case of Stella and Daisy wherein in their pursuit of what they think is their “ideal” love, they are, in fact, pursuing nothing more than a false ideal that […]
  • ‘The Great Gatsby’ and ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ Literature Comparison Stella is a devoted wife struggling to make her marriage work, even though her husband Stanley, subjects her to a lot of pain and suffering.
  • Social Norms in “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams In Blanche’s opinion, beauty is the true value of a woman since it enables her to win recognition of men. The main tragedy of Blanche DuBois is that she was conditioned to act and behave […]
  • “A Streetcar Named Desire” and Other Hollywood Films: The Effect of Negative Sexual Acts and Values on Society The two entities feed off each other in a dependent state of co-existence, in that, the occurrences in society form the basis of the plots and ideas of various films, while films offer entertainment, inspiration, […]
  • A Streetcar Named Desire A mentally stronger person, Stella is capable of surviving in the world that she and her husband live in and, more to the point, sacrificing the truth to preserve that world, even at the cost […]
  • Costumes in “A Streetcar Named Desire” (1951) Film Although Blanche’s and Stanley’s clothes belong to the same time period and, therefore, allow the characters to coexist within the same reality and interact naturally, the differences in the details and the style serve more […]
  • Gender Struggle in Tennessee Williams “A Streetcar Named Desire” This observation is not merely the central idea of the play, but is an enhancement to the basic personality trait that goes along with the horrifying aftermath of the warfare, conducted in the name of […]
  • A Streetcar Named Desire: The Passion of Blanche The very movement brings back the fleur of the England of the XVIII century, to “Southern-Gothic imp of Poe-etic perverse” with all its ideas of Gothic culture and the features that are due only to […]
  • Williams Tennessee’s “A Streetcar Named Desire” The fact that something wrong and evil will form part of Blanche’s life is depicted in the beginning of the work by the mysterious expressions that compound the descriptions of Elysian Fields.
  • Mann’s “Death in Venice” and Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire” Altogether Mann succeeds to convey his messages through the character of the boy, the artist, and the other objects in the story.
  • Blanche DuBois in Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire” As DuBois is a female character, her tragedy is also to be seen as a result of her helplessness to transform her desires in a male-dominated world.
  • Blanche in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ by Williams It is a perfect presentation of the two major characters Blanche DuBois whose pretensions to virtue and culture only thinly cover her alcoholism and illusions of greatness, and Stanley Kowalski, who is primitive, rough, and […]
  • The Movies “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Cyrano de Bergerac” The movie is as tensed as the play. The sound is also very good as the music creates the necessary atmosphere.
  • Blanche Dubois’ Costume in “A Streetcar Named Desire” This is the shape of dress: a sleeveless sweetheart neckline, ruched bodice, with dropped basque waist and long multi-gored, multi-layered skirt falling from the hips, with translucent overlay. The color is a girlish pink, the […]
  • A Streetcar Named Desire She is highly critical and snobbish when she regards the cramped up apartment that her sister and her husband lives in.
  • The Conflict Between Stanley and Blanche in “A Streetcar Named Desire”
  • Alcoholism, Violence, Sexuality, and Happiness in “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams
  • The Two Different Worlds of Stella in “A Streetcar Named Desire”
  • The Link Between Desire and Death in “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams
  • Theatrical Set Design of “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams
  • Loneliness, Female vs. Male Thoughts and Ways in “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams
  • The Presentation of Masculinity and Femininity in “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Ariel”
  • Romantic Love as the Center of Conflict in “A Streetcar Named Desire”
  • The Realistic Fantasy of “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams
  • The Interrelationship of Characters and Themes in Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire”
  • The Themes of Illusion and Fantasy in “A Streetcar Named Desire”
  • Historical, Social, and Cultural Context of Tennessee Williams on “A Streetcar Named Desire”
  • The Use of the Grotesque in Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire”
  • The Blending of Tragic and Comic Elements in “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams
  • The Fusion of Eros and Thanatos in “A Streetcar Named Desire”
  • The Similarities and Differences in the Presentation of Female Characters in “A Streetcar Named Desire”
  • The Decline of the American Dream in “Great Gatsby” and “A Streetcar Named Desire”
  • The Symbolic Interactions of the Characters in “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams
  • The Role of Family in “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams
  • The Importance and Danger of Illusions in “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams
  • The Uses of Colors an Lighting in Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire”
  • The Dual Conflicts Between Civilization and Savagery, Old and New, Appearance and Reality in “A Streetcar Named Desire”
  • The Tragic Heroine Blanche in “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams
  • Tragic Comedy of Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire”
  • Self Deception and Silence in “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams
  • Complexity of the Main Characters in “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams
  • The Use of Illusions as a Defense Mechanism Against the Real World and Inner Demons in “A Streetcar Named Desire”
  • Williams’ Use of Imagery and Symbolism in “A Streetcar Named Desire”
  • Deluded Fantasies About Love and Aspiration for Life in “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams
  • Theme of Domestic Violence in “A Streetcar Named Desire”
  • The Relationship of Blanche and Stella to the Dramatic Effect of “A Streetcar Named Desire”
  • The Picture of a Southern Belle in “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams
  • Gender Stereotypes in “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams
  • The Theme of Past and Present in “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams
  • The Themes of Death and Desire in Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire”
  • The Music’s Role in “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams
  • Facing Reality Without Depending on Members of the Opposite Sex in “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams
  • The Skillful Use of Poetic Dialogue in “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams
  • Prey and Predator in “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams
  • Powerless Women: A Comparison of “The Duchess of Malfi” and “A Streetcar Named Desire”

❓ A Streetcar Named Desire Essay Questions

  • How Are the Themes of Reality and Illusion Presented in “A Streetcar Named Desire”?
  • Should Stella Leave Stanley in “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams?
  • How Does Williams Present Conflict Between Old and New in Scene Two of “A Streetcar Named Desire”?
  • Do Women Seek Independence and Individualism in “A Streetcar Named Desire”?
  • What Does Wolfing Mean in “A Streetcar Named Desire”?
  • What Were Common Societal Expectations of Women in the Time When the Play “A Streetcar Named Desire” Was Written?
  • Why Are Women Dependent on Men in “A Streetcar Named Desire”?
  • Can Stanley Be Named as the Ideal of American Masculinity in “A Streetcar Named Desire”?
  • Why Has an Abused Woman Stayed With Her Abuser in “A Streetcar Named Desire”?
  • What Changes Were Made to the Play’s Plot for the Screen Adaptation of “A Streetcar Named Desire” in 1951?
  • How Does Blanche Die in “A Streetcar Named Desire”?
  • How Is the Theme of Class Difference Portrayed in the Play “A Streetcar Named Desire”?
  • How Is the Idea of Naturalism Presented in the Play “A Streetcar Named Desire”?
  • What Message Does the Writer Try to Convey in the Play “A Streetcar Named Desire”?
  • How Does the Past Influence the Present in the Novel “The Reader” and the Play “A Streetcar Named Desire”?
  • How Is Marriage Represented in the Play “A Streetcar Named Desire”?
  • What Elements of Southern Fiction Are Presented in the Play “A Streetcar Named Desire”?
  • What Is the Overall Concept of “A Streetcar Named Desire”?
  • What Role Does Sexuality Play in the Play “A Streetcar Named Desire”?
  • Why Are Blanche and Stella Attracted to Each Other Despite Their Conflicts in “A Streetcar Named Desire”?
  • What Secrets From the Past Does Blanche Hide in “A Streetcar Named Desire”?
  • What Literary Techniques Does Tennessee Williams Use to Enhance Themes in “A Streetcar Named Desire”?
  • Why Has Blanche Dubois Failed at the End of “A Streetcar Named Desire”?
  • What Is Unique About Tennessee Williams’ Word Choice in “A Streetcar Named Desire”?
  • How Does Mitch’s Image Change in “A Streetcar Named Desire” by the End of the Play?
  • What Is the Symbolic Meaning of the Shattered Mirror in the Play “A Streetcar Named Desire”?
  • Why Does Blanche Try to Escape the Reality in “A Streetcar Named Desire”?
  • What Ideas of Gender Issues Does Tennessee Williams Try to Convey to the Reader in “A Streetcar Named Desire”?
  • What Role Does Fantasy Play in Blanche’s Life in “A Streetcar Named Desire”?
  • How Do Alcohol and Drugs Influence the Main Characters in “A Streetcar Named Desire”?
  • Blanche DuBois’ Fatal Flaws and Downfall In this essay, you can delve into Blanche’s character arc. Explore her vulnerabilities, delusions, and how her past experiences contribute to her tragic end.
  • The Southern Belle Archetype in A Streetcar Named Desire Here, you can explore the Myth of Southern charm and fragility known as “Southern belle.” Examine Blanche’s portrayal as a Southern belle and how it reflects societal expectations regarding women during that time.
  • Symbols of Truth and Deception in A Streetcar Named Desire In this essay, you can analyze the play’s recurring motif of light and darkness. How does it enhance the themes of illusion versus reality?
  • A Streetcar Named Desire as a Critique of Masculinity and Patriarchy This literary analysis can explore how the character of Stanley Kowalski. Show how it embodies traditional masculinity. What are the implications of his dominance over the women characters?
  • Blanche DuBois as a Femme Fatale This essay can discuss Blanche’s seductive power and the consequences of her manipulative behavior on the people around her. Prove your point with quotes from the play.
  • The Southern Gothic Elements in A Streetcar Named Desire This interesting topic focuses on the Dark and Macabre Aspects of the play. Analyze the incorporation of Southern Gothic elements, such as decay, madness, and secrets.
  • The Theme of Desire and Its Manifestation in the Play Here, you can compare and contrast the characters’ desires. For example, focus on Blanche’s desire for security and love, Stanley’s desire for control, and Stella’s desire for stability.
  • The Yellow Wallpaper Ideas
  • Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God Research Topics
  • The Things They Carried Questions
  • Macbeth Ideas
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Research Topics
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Research Topics
  • A Raisin in the Sun Essay Titles
  • Hamlet Essay Ideas
  • Chicago (A-D)
  • Chicago (N-B)

IvyPanda. (2024, February 22). 107 A Streetcar Named Desire Essay Questions, Topics, & Examples. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/a-streetcar-named-desire-essay-examples/

"107 A Streetcar Named Desire Essay Questions, Topics, & Examples." IvyPanda , 22 Feb. 2024, ivypanda.com/essays/topic/a-streetcar-named-desire-essay-examples/.

IvyPanda . (2024) '107 A Streetcar Named Desire Essay Questions, Topics, & Examples'. 22 February.

IvyPanda . 2024. "107 A Streetcar Named Desire Essay Questions, Topics, & Examples." February 22, 2024. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/a-streetcar-named-desire-essay-examples/.

1. IvyPanda . "107 A Streetcar Named Desire Essay Questions, Topics, & Examples." February 22, 2024. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/a-streetcar-named-desire-essay-examples/.

Bibliography

IvyPanda . "107 A Streetcar Named Desire Essay Questions, Topics, & Examples." February 22, 2024. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/a-streetcar-named-desire-essay-examples/.

essay for a street car named desire

A Streetcar Named Desire

Tennessee williams, ask litcharts ai: the answer to your questions.

Sexual Desire Theme Icon

Many critics believe that Williams invented the idea of desire for the 20th century. The power of sexual desire is the engine propelling A Streetcar Named Desire : all of the characters are driven by “that rattle-trap street-car” in various ways.

Much of Blanche’s conception of how she operates in the world relies on her perception of herself as an object of male sexual desire. Her interactions with men always begin with flirtation. Blanche tells Stella that she and Stanley smoothed things over when she began to flirt with him. When Blanche meets Stanley’s poker-playing friends, she lights upon Mitch as a possible suitor and adopts the guise of a chaste lover for him to pursue.

Blanche nearly attacks the Young Man with her aggressive sexuality, flirting heavily with him and kissing him. Blanche dresses provocatively in red satin, silks, costume jewelry, etc: she calls attention to her body and her femininity through her carefully cultivated appearance. Blanche clings to her sexuality more and more desperately as the play progresses. To Blanche, perhaps motivated by her discovery that her first husband was in fact homosexual, losing her desirability is akin to losing her identity and her reason to live.

Stella’s desire for Stanley pulls her away from Belle Reve and her past. Stella is drawn to Stanley’s brute, animal sexuality, and he is drawn to her traditional, domestic, feminine sexuality. Stella is pregnant: her sexuality is deeply tied to both womanliness and motherhood. Even though Stanley is violent to Stella, their sexual dynamic keeps them together. When Blanche is horrified that Stanley beats Stella, Stella explains that the things that a man and a woman do together in the dark maintain their relationship.

Stanley’s sexuality and his masculinity are extremely interconnected: he radiates a raw, violent, brute animal magnetism. Stanley’s sexuality asserts itself violently over both Stella and Blanche. Although he hits Stella, she continues to stay with him and to submit to his force. While Stella is at the hospital giving birth to his child, Stanley rapes Blanche: the culmination of his sexual act with Stella coincides with the tragic culmination of his destined date with Blanche.

Throughout the play, sexual desire is linked to destruction. Even in supposedly loving relationships, sexual desire and violence are yoked: Stanley hits Stella, and Steve beats Eunice . The “epic fornications” of the DuBois ancestors created a chain reaction that has culminated in the loss of the family estate. Blanche’s pursuit of sexual desire has led to the loss of Belle Reve, her expulsion from Laurel, and her eventual removal from society. Stanley’s voracious carnal desire culminates in his rape of Blanche. Blanche’s husband’s “unacceptable” homosexual desire leads to his suicide.

Sexual Desire ThemeTracker

A Streetcar Named Desire PDF

Sexual Desire Quotes in A Streetcar Named Desire

They told me to take a street-car named Desire, and transfer to one called Cemeteries, and ride six blocks and get off at—Elysian Fields!

Fantasy and Delusion Theme Icon

Sit there and stare at me, thinking I let the place go? I let the place go? Where were you ! In bed with your–Polack!

Masculinity and Physicality Theme Icon

Since earliest manhood the center of [Stanley’s] life has been pleasure with women, the giving and taking of it, not with weak indulgence, dependently, but with the power and pride of a richly feathered male bird among hens.

I never met a woman that didn’t know if she was good-looking or not without being told, and some of them give themselves credit for more than they’ve got.

Now let’s cut the re-bop!

After all, a woman’s charm is fifty percent illusion.

Oh, I guess he’s just not the type that goes for jasmine perfume, but maybe he’s what we need to mix with our blood now that we’ve lost Belle Reve.

The kitchen now suggests that sort of lurid nocturnal brilliance, the raw colors of childhood’s spectrum.

STELL-LAHHHHH!

There are things that happen between a man and a woman in the dark–that sort of make everything else seem–unimportant.

What you are talking about is brutal desire–just–Desire!–the name of that rattle-trap street-car that bangs through the Quarter.

Don’t–don’t hang back with the brutes!

Young man! Young, young, young man! Has anyone ever told you that you look like a young Prince out of the Arabian Nights?

Sometimes–there’s God–so quickly!

It’s only a paper moon, Just as phony as it can be–But it wouldn’t be make-believe If you believed in me!

I told you already I don’t want none of his liquor and I mean it. You ought to lay off his liquor. He says you’ve been lapping it up all summer like a wild-cat!

I don’t want realism. I want magic!

Tiger–tiger! Drop the bottle-top! Drop it! We’ve had this date with each other from the beginning!

Please don’t get up. I’m only passing through.

You left nothing here but spilt talcum and old empty perfume bottles–unless it’s the paper lantern you want to take with you. You want the lantern?

Whoever you are—I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.

The LitCharts.com logo.

  • International
  • Schools directory
  • Resources Jobs Schools directory News Search

8x A* 'A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE' ESSAYS for A Level English Literature

8x A* 'A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE' ESSAYS for A Level English Literature

Subject: English

Age range: 16+

Resource type: Assessment and revision

tomco_

Last updated

22 June 2019

  • Share through email
  • Share through twitter
  • Share through linkedin
  • Share through facebook
  • Share through pinterest

docx, 20.85 KB

This is a bank of 8 ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ Essays submitted as part of the Edexcel A Level English Literature course. All of them were marked and were either a high Level 4 or Level 5, which, when using the grade boundaries from last year, means that they are all an A* standard. This is useful to teachers, who are looking to share exemplar essays with their students. It’s also useful to students themselves who are looking to compare their work or improve. All the questions answered cover various themes and characters to ensure students are best prepared for the exam. This resource might be useful for a reverse essay planning exercise, where students have to generate an essay plan from a pre-written essay. It might also be good for students to self-assess, to identify what the Exam Board are looking for and where

The questions answered are:

‘Despite the excitement and clamour, the play essentially shows us the vulnerability of human beings.’ In the light of this comment, explore Williams’ dramatic presentation of vulnerability in A Streetcar Named Desire. In your answer you must consider relevant contextual factors.

‘Williams viewed the characters he created as ‘my little company of the faded and frightened, the difficult, the odd, the lonely’. In light of this statement, explore Williams’ presentation of key characters. In your answer you must consider relevant contextual factors.

‘When a play employs unconventional techniques it is not, or certainly shouldn’t be, trying to escape its responsibility of dealing with reality.’ In the light of this comment, explore Williams’ dramatic presentation of reality. In your answer you must consider relevant contextual factors.

‘Elysian Fields is a world filled with violence, in which Blanche cannot survive.’ In the light of this comment, explore Williams’ dramatic presentation of violence in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’. In your answer you must consider relevant contextual factors.

‘Mitch may be a weak character, but his treatment of Blanche is still disturbing and harmful.’ In the light of this comment, explore Williams’ dramatic presentation of Mitch. In your answer you must consider relevant contextual factors.

‘Blanche to Mitch: I don’t want you to think I am severe and old-maid school-teacherish or anything like that…I guess it is just that I have … old-fashioned ideals!’ In light of this quotation, explore Williams’ presentation of characters’ attitudes to sex and sexuality. In your answer you must consider relevant contextual factors.

‘A Streetcar Named Desire is a play concerned with the conflict between the old world and the new.’ In light of this comment, explore Williams’ presentation of the conflict between Blanche and Stanley so far. In your answer you must consider relevant contextual factors.

Evaluate Williams’ presentation of the setting and characters presented in the exposition of his play A Streetcar Named Desire. You should make links to relevant contextual factors.

Tes paid licence How can I reuse this?

Your rating is required to reflect your happiness.

It's good to leave some feedback.

Something went wrong, please try again later.

Empty reply does not make any sense for the end user

lizrose0131

The answers are okay, but they require more context and the writing style would be close to grade A.

Thank you for the feedback - I will change the listing appropriately.

Report this resource to let us know if it violates our terms and conditions. Our customer service team will review your report and will be in touch.

Not quite what you were looking for? Search by keyword to find the right resource:

essay for a street car named desire

Review: ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ at Paramount has all of that Tennessee Williams pain

“I am not one who can find in Mr. Williams’ farewells the ray of light called hope,” Claudia Cassidy wrote in this very newspaper some 75 years ago. “As ‘The Glass Menagerie’ dimmed its candles on desolation, so ‘Streetcar’ opens the doors of the madhouse to a woman who only by the grace of God will be mad when she enters them.”

Indeed. Those words of the late, great drama critic — who adored Tennessee Williams and jump-started his career — always ring in my ears when I review Williams’ plays, especially “A Streetcar Named Desire,” which now can be seen in a truly wonderful little staging at the Copley Theatre in downtown Aurora, a production of sufficient artistry as to be well worth a train or a drive out to the western suburbs for city-based aficionados.

It’s part of the Paramount Theatre’s so-called Bold Series, a weird moniker for one of the great classics of American drama, now some 78 years old. The intention, I think, is to prepare audiences for not seeing a musical, even though this production is filled with all kinds of rich melodies.

“Streetcar” has not been seen much of late in Chicago; the last truly memorable production was David Cromer’s staging at Writers Theatre in Glencoe in 2010.  This one is right up there with that gobsmacker.

Paramount’s “Streetcar” is from the gifted veteran director Jim Corti, the man who has elevated big-scale musical productions in west suburban Chicago, and who clearly has been itching to try something different. He co-directs here with Elizabeth Swanson. As Blanche, Corti and Swanson have cast Amanda Drinkall, a highly accomplished Chicago actress known for (among others) “Venus in Fur” at the Goodman Theatre, “Othello” at Court Theatre, and Robert Falls’ valedictorian staging of “The Cherry Orchard” last year.  Stella is Alina Taber, who I last saw (believe it or not) as a fine Rizzo in Drury Lane’s “Grease.” Stanley is Casey Hoekstra, a veteran of American Players Theatre in Wisconsin.  This is a highly skilled cast, all palpably hungry to wrestle with these roles.

I had a sense this “Streetcar” was going to be really good when I first saw Taber’s face as Hoekstra’s Stanley entered. Blanche may depend on the kindness of strangers but “Streetcar” depends on Stella being so sensually consumed by all that Stanley has to offer her that she sells her sister down the river.

“Could anyone forget that last “Streetcar” scene?” Cassidy wrote of the the play’s first staging. “Pretentious, promiscuous Blanche of the pitiful airs and graces, who has found that the obverse of death is desire, is raped by her potent hulk of a brother in law, and her sex-obsessed sister has her committed rather than admit the truth.”

Cassidy hated Stella and felt deeply for Blanche. I think that’s because the critic saw herself in the poor woman, and also thought her beloved Williams resided there, too, forever pursued by his demons. You certainly feel Drinkall agrees — her Blanche has this wonderfully relentless quality, a existential kind of determination to keep powering on with all of her self-constructed artifice on pain of death. This is such a hard role to pull off nowadays and Drinkall is just spectacular.

If you read John Lahr’s biography of Williams, you come away believing that Williams had plenty of Stanley in him, too, and that idea is also richly reflected here. Hoekstra’s Stanley is as needy as he is cruel and violent, a disturbed man-child chaos agent, bringing anguish to two vulnerable women.

As the lynchpin of the play, Taber makes the case that Stella is only pursuing what she wants out of her adult life, which after all is a product of her rough youth. Until Blanche shows up, she’s happy.

But a kid coming? How would Stanley have coped with that, Blanche or no Blanche, I always wonder.

Paramount’s show doesn’t come with the typical Big Easy soundtrack, nor does it traffic in the standard sweaty sensuality, as advertised in the marketing materials.

Sex here is an act of both destruction and survival, as Williams knew and Cassidy hated to admit.

Chris Jones is a Tribune critic.

[email protected]

Review: “A Streetcar Named Desire” (4 stars)

When: Through April 21

Where: Paramount’s Copley Theatre, 8 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora

Running time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Tickets:  $40-$55 at 630-896-6666 and paramountaurora.com

©2024 Chicago Tribune. Visit chicagotribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Amanda Drinkall and Alina Taber in "A Streetcar Named Desire" at Paramount's Copley Theatre in Aurora.

IMAGES

  1. Introduction to A Streetcar Named Desire Free Essay Example

    essay for a street car named desire

  2. A street car named desire essay 1

    essay for a street car named desire

  3. A Streetcar Named Desire Essay on Masculinity

    essay for a street car named desire

  4. Essay on A Streetcar Named Desire Free Essay Example

    essay for a street car named desire

  5. A Streetcar named desire essay (task 8)

    essay for a street car named desire

  6. Streetcar Named Desire

    essay for a street car named desire

VIDEO

  1. 'A Street Car Named Desire' by Tennessee Williams, characters, places, epigraph, games etc

  2. A Streetcar Named Desire 1995 Diane Lane movie

  3. A Streetcar Named Desire: Four Deuces

  4. A Street Car Named Desire By Tennessee Williams Summary, Analysis & Themes In Malayalam

  5. A street car named desire by Tennessee William

  6. A Streetcar Named Desire: Main Title/New Orleans Street

COMMENTS

  1. A Streetcar Named Desire Essay

    An Examination of The Character of Blanche in a Streetcar Named Desire. 5 pages / 2287 words. In Tennessee Williams' play, A Streetcar Named Desire, the nature of theatricality, "magic," and "realism," all stem from the tragic character, Blanche DuBois. Blanche is both a theatricalizing and self-theatricalizing woman.

  2. A Streetcar Named Desire Study Guide

    Key Facts about A Streetcar Named Desire. Full Title: A Streetcar Named Desire. When Written: 1946-7. Where Written: New York, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. When Published: Broadway premiere December 3, 1947. Literary Period: Dramatic naturalism. Genre: Psychological drama.

  3. Analysis of Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire

    Tennessee Williams 's (March 26, 1911 - February 25, 1983) A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), is generally regarded as his best. Initial reaction was mixed, but there would be little argument now that it is one of the most powerful plays in the modern theater. Like The Glass Menagerie, it concerns, primarily, a man and two women and a ...

  4. A Streetcar Named Desire Essays

    In the 1947 play A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, the relationship between Blanche and Mitch is a key subplot in the tale of Blanche's descent into madness and isolation. Whilst Williams initially presents Mitch as the answer to all... A Streetcar Named Desire literature essays are academic essays for citation.

  5. A Streetcar Named Desire Critical Essays

    In A Streetcar Named Desire, Williams shows the reality of people's lives, an enduring concern of his throughout his writing career. He wrote this play believing he was about to die, so he wrote ...

  6. A Streetcar Named Desire Essays and Criticism

    Theater Review of A Streetcar Named Desire. First published on December 4, 1947, this laudatory review by Atkinson appraises the play's debut and labels Williams's work as a "superb drama ...

  7. A Streetcar Named Desire Essay Questions

    Essays for A Streetcar Named Desire. A Streetcar Named Desire literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of A Streetcar Named Desire. Chekhov's Influence on the Work of Tennessee Williams; Morality and Immorality (The Picture of Dorian Gray and A Streetcar ...

  8. A Streetcar Named Desire: Essay Questions

    A list of potential essay questions to form revision and speed planning practice 'Stella is the lynchpin within the play for better or for worse' In light of this statement, explore William's presentation of relationships in A Streetcar Named Desire. In your answer, you must consider relevant contextual factors. 'Shame lies at the….

  9. A Streetcar Named Desire Themes

    A Streetcar Named Desire study guide contains a biography of Tennessee Williams, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. ... A Streetcar Named Desire literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of A ...

  10. A Streetcar Named Desire: Language and Imagery

    "A Streetcar Named Desire" is celebrated for its rich language and vivid imagery which helps communicate the tensions, themes and personalities of the characters. Tennessee Williams cleverly uses various literary devices such as symbolism, metaphors, and figurative language to add layers of interpretation to the play.

  11. PDF A Streetcar Named Desire

    A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams And so it was I entered the broken world To trace the visionary company of love, its voice ... SCENE ONE The exterior of a two-story corner building on a street in New Orleans which is named Elysian Fields and runs between the L & N tracks and the river. The section is poor but, unlike

  12. 107 A Streetcar Named Desire Essay Questions, Topics, & Examples

    Welcome to our list of best A Streetcar Named Desire essay topics! Here, you will find interesting ideas for discussions, essay questions, Streetcar Named Desire research titles, and more. In addition, if you click on the links, you can read excellent A Streetcar Named Desire essay examples!

  13. Sexual Desire Theme in A Streetcar Named Desire

    Sexual Desire Theme Analysis. LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in A Streetcar Named Desire, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work. Many critics believe that Williams invented the idea of desire for the 20th century. The power of sexual desire is the engine propelling A Streetcar Named Desire: all of the ...

  14. Sample Answers

    This is explained in the opening scene: Blanche travels on a New Orleans streetcar 'named Desire', then changes to one called Cemeteries, to reach her sister's home. This implies that desire leads to death. Making the symbolism more obvious, Blanche tells Stella in Scene Four that the 'streetcar' of desire has led her to the Kowalski ...

  15. 8x A* 'A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE' ESSAYS for A Level English Literature

    docx, 26.35 KB. This is a bank of 8 'A Streetcar Named Desire' Essays submitted as part of the Edexcel A Level English Literature course. All of them were marked and were either a high Level 4 or Level 5, which, when using the grade boundaries from last year, means that they are all an A* standard. This is useful to teachers, who are ...

  16. A Streetcar Named Desire: Understanding the Text

    A Streetcar Named Desire is a play designed to be watched by an audience, so this is the context in which we should read the stage directions and any other relevant information Williams provides, in addition to the dialogue. It also contains elements of social realism and Southern Gothic, both of which will be explored further below. ...

  17. Higher English

    Study with Quizlet and memorize flashcards containing terms like '[incongruous to the setting]', '[Her uncertain manner as well as her white clothes suggest a moth]', "They told me to take a streetcar named Desire, and then transfer to then one called cemeteries and ride six blocks and get off at - Elysian Fields" and more.

  18. A streetcar named desire Essay.docx

    The drama, which is set against the INITIALS: DL SURNAME: DLAMINI STUDENT NUMBER: 223221483 CONTACT NUMBER: 068 400 1184 TOPIC (Please write out the Essay Title in full): Write an essay on A Streetcar Named Desire in which you explore the way the play portrays the themes of femininity, masculinity, and the relationship between men and women.

  19. Review: 'A Streetcar Named Desire' at Paramount has all of that

    Chris Jones is a Tribune critic. [email protected]. Review: "A Streetcar Named Desire" (4 stars) When: Through April 21. Where: Paramount's Copley Theatre, 8 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora ...