A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

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A Streetcar Named Desire
A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams, is a thrilling depiction of a woman’s fall from grace. Blanche DuBois, the protagonist of the story, is forced to move in with, or “visit,” her sister in New Orleans. Throughout the play, Blanche struggles to accept her reality, and ultimately her fate. Blanche is misunderstood and driven to insanity by Stella’s practical husband, Stanley. This play portrays her journey from a dream land to total insanity. The play also depicts many societal norms of the time, namely those in which Tennessee Williams wished to challenge. Overall, A Streetcar Named Desire portrays the harsh reality of life in the 1940’s, and reality’s timeless ability to become elusive as dreams and fantasies take control.

Blanche Dubois visits her sister in New Orleans after “taking a break” from work, and eventually loses herself in her fantasies. At first people believe Blanche’s royal disguise to resemble her person, as she covers herself in expensive clothes and deceitful lies. Blanche begins to believe her own façade, but soon enough Stanley sees through her fabricated narrative. From the start Stanley is apprehensive of Blanche and her alleged past. Shortly after Blanche’s arrival, Stanley overhears her talking to Stella, regarding Stanley’s animal-like behavior the night before. Stanley is disgruntled by Blanche’s interference, and begins researching her true past. Stanley first confronts Blanche after he discovers her loss of Belle Reve. Stanley argues “In the state of Louisiana we have the Napoleonic code according to which what belongs to the wife belongs to the husband and vice versa,” but Blanche simply ignores his banter (1.3 36). Stanley’s practical personality clashes with Blanche’s quixotic ideals, and he constantly questions her intent.

After arriving in New Orleans, Blanch attempts to cover up her true appearance by hiding in the dark. In this play, the light symbolizes reality, a daunting idea...
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