A Streetcar Named Desire Essay

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Williams also reinforces his implied themes with many motifs and symbols, such as music, drunkenness, and bathing. Towards the end of scene three, Blanche turns on the radio and “waltzes to the music with romantic gestures [while Mitch imitates] like a dancing bear” (57). Because Blanche is accustomed to her insanity, which is represented by the Varsouviana Polka, she is able to move along with the music fine while Mitch, who is accustomed to reality (and has primitive traits), is unable to gracefully match Blanche’s movements and grace. Not only does the Polka music represent Blanche’s descent into insanity, but also tends to appear at moments when she is in a state of panic. Secondly, drunkenness is a major symbol throughout the play. Stanley states that “[one thing that] belongs on a poker table [is] whiskey” while Blanche lies and says “[she isn’t] accustomed to having more than one drink” (54). Stanley and the men seem to drink for social reasons, and they sometimes end up becoming violent or barbaric. Blanche, however, seems to drink in an almost anti-social manner while keeping it a secret, and the results of her drunkenness usually end up causing her to deceive herself. Although the author never states the illness that Blanche is eventually diagnosed with, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a guide used by modern day psychologists to classify types of mental disorders, would classify her as a paranoid schizophrenic. In addition to music and drunkenness, bathing also is an important symbol that is implanted into the play, which is evident when Stanley becomes violent and his friends bath him with “the water . . . on full tilt [and later] comes out of the bathroom [and] breaks into sobs” (59). Because he was violent (and drunk), Stanley’s friends cleanse him of his bad actions with water. He then comes out of the bathroom afterwards and feels regretful, calling out to his love and wanting to be forgiven. Throughout the history of...
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