The Decline of Aristocracy in "A Streetcar Named Desire"

Powerful Essays
1. Set after World War I, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams reflects many of the social and cultural changes that occurred after the war.

2. Immediately the time of day (“first dark of an evening”) accentuates the background of socio-economic change as it symbolically represents the death of an old value system and the birth of a new set of social values.

3. The play takes place in the French Quarter of New Orleans which is immediately depicted as an impoverished yet cosmopolitan city due to the contrasting juxtaposition of the “warm and easy intermingling of races” and the “atmosphere of decay” of the antiquated structures (as established in Scene 1)

4. Thus, T.W. immediately suggests the idea of transition --> old, southern values to new, urban values because the ornamented, raffish buildings stand out against the socially progressive city.

5. The life of the evidently lower class in the poor section is shown to be “unlike corresponding sections in other American cities” (Scene 1) due to the vibrant synaesthesia (visual/auditory). For example, the contradictory image of a “blue piano” suggests both the dolorous poverty but also, as expressed in Scene 1, the “spirit of life” and as such, takes the sting out of poverty.

6. Essentially, the introduction to the setting in Scene 1 shows the atypical society of the slum, Elysian Fields because it has been romanticized by Tennessee Williams as a rich melting pot of cultures and values.

7. The idea of the inevitable conflict between the declining aristocratic class and the burgeoning proletariat is evident as soon as Blanche arrives because, even in such a cosmopolitan city, is “incongruous to this setting” (Scene 1). Furthermore, Elysian Fields = Greek heaven & Blanche = Romantic South. Her arrival foreshadows conflict as it is the death of the old South.

8. Furthermore, the idea of conflict is accentuated by the description of Blanche's journey as she first rode a streetcar named

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Streetcar Named Desire

    • 1176 Words
    • 5 Pages

    The loss of identity is an oft-discussed subject in literature. A character's tie or affiliation to a defined identity in a piece has the tendency to illustrate how the archetype of the character functions in society as a whole. In A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, the symbolic death of the aristocratic Southern lifestyle of grandeur serves as a notion that illuminates on the meaning of the piece. Comparing and contrasting characters such as Blanche DuBois, a typical Southern belle…

    • 1176 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Streetcar Named Desire

    • 1311 Words
    • 6 Pages

    does the play’s setting contribute to its dramatic effect? A Streetcar Named Desire shows the extent to which the American South is less a geographical expression than an entire way of life. Even today, the South’s distinctive culture, food, literature and music have influenced the rest of the country immensely. Tennessee Williams explored the cultural and spiritual experience of the South, to which he belonged and in Streetcar he dramatizes a brutal culture clash between New Orleans industrial…

    • 1311 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Streetcar Named Desire

    • 259 Words
    • 1 Page

    A streetcar named desire is a heartbreaking story about blanche DuBois. Blanche is a woman in her 30s. She was a high­class lady who's class is now fading and so is her beauty. She tries to hide from artificial light as much as she can. You see light in the stage direction. You also see music in the stage direction. Music is very important because it describes the mood. Light and music in Streetcar named desire assembles it to be more dramatic while adding depth to the characters. Yo…

    • 259 Words
    • 1 Page
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    A Streetcar Named Desire

    • 770 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Briana Jones Period 2 January 16, 2012 Scholars English IV A Streetcar Named Desire A Streetcar Named Desire was written by American playwright Tennessee Williams. Published in 1947, the theatre piece is one of his most recognizable works. Throughout the play, Williams demonstrates a number of different themes that some of the main characters portray. One of these themes is a primitive theme, which the one of the main characters dominantly shows, Stanley Kowalski…

    • 770 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    A Streetcar Named Desire

    • 528 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Owens Dramatic Worksheet 10 Points PLAY TITLE: A Streetcar Named Desire Type your answer after the A: Take as much space as you need. 1. In a sentence or two, what is the premise of the play? A: The premise of the play is Blanche’s covering of reality with fantasy and deceit within herself. 2. Describe the exposition. A: The exposition is the 1940s in New Orleans, LA. Blanche took a streetcar named Desire from Laurel, MS to her sisters’, Stella’s apartment. Stellas’…

    • 528 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    A Streetcar Named Desire

    • 1648 Words
    • 7 Pages

    I want magic! Yes, yes, magic! (9.117). Magic, is often associated with the concept of circumventing reality. Individuals try to live unconstrained within their fantasy when they dislike the way that reality appears to be for the. In “A Streetcar Named Desire,” Tennessee Williams protagonist, Blanche Dubois finds herself to be in a situation of living in illusion instead of reality. Williams’s addresses the importance of individuals who attempt to live unconstrained, through Blanche. Through her…

    • 1648 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    A streetcar named desire

    • 1981 Words
    • 8 Pages

    have a chance to get married. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams is placed in the picturesque French Quarter in New Orleans. The play starts when Blanche DuBois comes in New Orleans to visit her sister Stella after she lost the family plantation Belle-Reve because of money problems. She then meets her brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski, a World War II veteran. As soon as they meet each other, a mistrustful rivalry starts between them. A Streetcar Named Desire depicts the conflict between two…

    • 1981 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    A Streetcar Named Desire

    • 8089 Words
    • 33 Pages

    A Streetcar named Desire Tennessee Williams “Stella!” Gegevens Titel: A Streetcar named Desire and Other Plays Auteur: Tennessee Williams Uitgeverij: Penguin Classics Jaar: 2000 Druk: 13 ISBN: 0-14-118256-3 Biografie en bibliografie auteur Tennessee Willams (1911 – 1983) Playwright, poet, and fiction writer, Tennessee Williams left a powerful mark on American theatre. At their best, his twenty-five full-length plays combined lyrical…

    • 8089 Words
    • 33 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Desire –theme question 5 “A streetcar named desire is a play written by Tennessee Williams “in 1947. Blanche Dubois is the central character who comes to New Orleans to live off her sister’s kindness after losing their family home because of her difficult past. Tennessee Williams develops the theme ‘desire’ with the help of characterization through Blanche, symbolism and other stylistic devices which foreshadow her fate. Desire is one of the most prominent themes in this play. Each character is…

    • 723 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Streetcar Named Desire

    • 420 Words
    • 2 Pages

    In A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, the main characters have a difficult time facing reality. Blanche DuBios, Stanley Kowalski, and Stella Kowalski live different lives, but are all stuck within their own fantasy worlds. In this story, Williams shows that too much fantasy can lead to devastation. Blanche has been fired from her job as a school teacher for sleeping with a student. She has been kicked out of her town for being a prostitute. Blanche needs to feel young and secure. She…

    • 420 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays