Critical Literary Analysis of "A Streetcar Named Desire"

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Michael R. Hummel
Critical Literary Analysis of “A Streetcar Named Desire” Professor Helene King
15 March, 2011

Tennessee Williams' play “A Streetcar Named Desire” brings up and discusses many topics and problems. One of the main themes of this play is the conflict that appears and gradually develops in the relationship between Stanley and Blanche. The results and consequences of this conflict are quite evident; however, the sources and the reasons of such anger and hostility may seem to be not totally revealed. So, why is their relationship so complicated and inevitably tragic? What led to such consequences of their acquaintance and communication? Stanley and Blanche clash throughout the play until Stanley conquers Blanche both physically and emotionally, and he restores and reemphasizes his dominant roll. The main reasons for their misunderstanding are conflicts of race, social status and attitude regarding life. As the reader finds out from the play, Blanche is the representative of the Old American South. She is well educated and she rates art highly, especially music and poetry. Stanley’s background and attitude to life are quite the contrary. He is the bright example of the immigrant New American and he is extremely proud of his origin and of the fact that he can truly be considered one hundred percent American (Bloom, 1988). The cultural values and the main standards of these two characters are quite dissimilar. It is possible to state that Blanche has rather old fashioned ideals and Stanley, in his turn, is sure that there is no place or need for these old standards and ideals. Blanche is a representative of social elite, and she was raised this way. Meanwhile, Stanley is completely satisfied with his status and the fact that he belongs to the American working class. Their values are not only disparate but also quite hostile and confrontational, and the postwar period intensifies the conflict and their...
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