“A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams
“Stella has embraced him with both arms, fiercely, and full in the view of Blanche. He laughs and clasps her head to him. Over her head he grins through the curtains at Blanche.” (Williams 73) A Streetcar Named Desire written by Tennessee Williams exemplifies the theme of a struggle to attain happiness. The play not only portrays this theme in its characters and setting, but through the literary devices of Foil, Imagery, and Intertextuality. Williams took great care in applying each of these literary device techniques to the theme as he presents an intriguing contrast between Blanche and Stanley, vivid images both animalistic and broken, and imploring the use of the Odyssey to further deepen his characters. Each of these devices though varied in style combine effortlessly in this tragedy.
One of the ways that Williams portrays his theme in this play was by using the literary device Foil. This is most important in characterization and is also seen in the economy vs. relationships. In the play Williams purposefully misdirects readers by using male against female. As in Stanley telling Stella what to do in certain situations, and also telling Blanche what she is going to do about the papers and Napoleonic code about “lost Belle Reve.” (Williams 40-43) There is also the Poker Table scene in which this places Stella and Blanche in opposition and Mitch and Stanley. Mitch wants to continue talking with Blanche and Stanley wants Mitch to come and play poker. Mitch continually tries to leave saying that he needs to get home to his sick mother. Stanley obviously does not understand Mitch’s situation and his need to be home. Stanley is really impatient as in he doesn’t like any distractions while he is playing his game. Stanley and Blanche both struggle for Stella’s attention, and they both want Stella on their side.
In A Streetcar Named Desire the literary device known as imagery is constant and throughout the entire...
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