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A Streetcar Named Desire

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Evann Guthrie

on 13 May 2014

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Transcript of A Streetcar Named Desire

" Death-...The opposite is desire."
Excerpt one:
"She pulled the wool over your eyes as much as Mitch's!"
Rising Action
Falling Action
Blanche is taking a bath, Stanley begins his suspicion of how Belle Reve was really lost. He mentions the "Napoleonic code" Stanley also begins to question where Blanche acquires the money to afford the jewlery and other clothing, while going through her suitcase
When Stanley mentions his suspisions to Blanche she acts unknowing and flirtatious towards him
Mention of "dead boy[s]" love letters are brought up. "I hurt him the way you would like to hurt me" (pg 42)
The sisters come home from dinner that night and see that Stanley is having a poker party
Blanche meets his friend Mitch. she asks him to put a paper lantern on a naked light bulb
Blanche turns on radio again after asked by Stanley not to. Stanley gets furious and beats Stella in her attempt to calm him down
Stella eventually forgives him later that night, which comes as a shock to Blanche.
the morning after blanche talks to Stella about how she feels about Stanley
Blanche also explains her stay at a hotel called the "Tarantula" the name tarantula serves as a metaphor as she explains where she would bring her "victims" as a prostitute
"After the death of Allan- intimacies with strangers was all I seemed able to fill my empty heart with." (pg118)
Blanche has seen a lot of death. A women out side selling flowers for the dead makes Blanche finally face her reality.
Idea of the streetcar named Desire (associated with life and passion) that goes to a street called cemeteries (associated with death)
Vol XCIII, No. 311
The 1940's
A Bit of History...
The Final Resolution
The play,
A Streetcar Named
, was based in the 1940’s

During that the time America:
was in the middle of WWII

Sports became more popular along
with Disney

Jazz became very popular during
this period, specifically swing.

From the beginning Blanche and Stanley have not gotten along. As Stanley over heard Blanche calling him "common" and the way her presence brings out a cynical, prejudice way of thinking in Stella (that roots from the times they lived in Belle Reve), which has threatened his dominance
Stanley: takes out his revenge in a physical way, he rapes Blanche and sends her to an insane asylum
Blanche: Finally admits to her lies but continues to live in a fantasy world of her own by claiming that gentlemen from Dallas are picking her up to go on a cruise. Blanche has completely lost her sanity
Stella: Stella’s reaction to Blanche’s condition and story regarding her husband, and her decision to carry on her marriage in spite of all that has happened. This is summed up in the image of her sitting on the porch with her baby, accepting comfort from her husband after Blanche has been taken to an institution.
A Streetcar Named Desire

By: Kyle Howard, Evann Guthrie and John Verch
Brief Summary
A streetcar named desire is a cultural clash between two symbolic characters, Blanche DuBois, a pretentious, fragile southern beauty and the barbaric, urban immigrat, Stanley Kowalski. For secret reasons Blanche leaves her home, Belle Reve, to move in with her sister Stella and her husband Stanley. This marks the destruction of Blanche's sanity and well as the illuions and lies she presents to shield others, but most of all herself, from her reality.
Setting: New Orleans, 1940's
Blanche, previously a high school English teacher, arrives at her sisters apartment where she lives with her husband Stanley. one of the streetcars she takes is called "Desire"
Blanche explains to Stella, who fears the reaction of her husband Stanley, their ancestral southern plantation, Belle Reve in Laurel Mississippi, has been "lost" due to the "epic fornications" of their ancestors.
Music is an important factor that sets the tone. Blue piano is mentioned
(Pg. 14)
This is an early indication of Stanley's primal behavior and Stella's tolerance for it. Their relationship is bipolar, argumentative and heavily based on sexual chemistry
Blanche Furthe
herself from Real
Blanche's flirtatious reaction to Stanley's stern questioning shows the beginning of her ditsy and dainty persona that she puts on
"Poems a dead boy wrote" (pg 42) by saying "boy" instead of husband, it distances her self from him as well as reality
This also marks the beginning of Blanche's excessive bathing
Blanche's interaction
with the
young man
In scene five, Blanche takes interest in a young man collecting news papers
she asks desperately to kiss him
"It would be nice to keep you, but I've got to be good- and keep my hands off children," (pg 84)
This ^ indicates and demonstrates Blanche's struggle to maintain her youth
The Truth Comes Out
While Blanche takes yet another Bath, Stanley tell Stella what he has found out from an old Supply man
"...he knows all about her and everybody else in the town Laurel knows all about her. She is as famous in Laurel as if she was the President of the United States, only she is not respected by any party" (pg99)
Blanche stayed at a second class hotel called the Flamingo after she lost Belle Reve, she became a prostitute at the hotel and was kicked out
Stanley also tells Stella the reason for Blanche's temporary leave from the school wasn't because of her nerves, it was because she was caught for having an affair with a seventeen-year old student
Stanley's expresses "Boy, oh, boy, I'd like to have been in that office...I'd like to have seen her squirm out of that one!"
Stanley also told Mitch everything he knows about Blanche, which destroys Blanche and Mitch's relationship
...The point of no return
Stanley imagines this because he is interested in revenging Blanche. Blanche comes as a threat to Stanleys dominance
The Break up
Notice how the lantern is a form of shade to preserve a light. how could this apply to Blanche covering the truth? how does she cover the truth?
Textual evidence from Blanche Herself that she has lied to Mitch. Blanche's "magic[al]" form of reality is an attempt to hang on to her youth an innocence as well a way to escape her disturbing reality.
Falling Action
Excerpt Two:
EQ: What are some of the repeated images/symbols?
Example: Blanche taking baths
EQ: What creates
suspense in a piece
of Literature?

“...say a thing more directly and simply and beautifully than it could be said in words … sometimes it would take page after tedious page of exposition to put across an idea that can be said with an object or a gesture on the lighted page." -Tennesse Williams
-Symbolizes Blanche's aversion to light. A lantern covers and shields light, much like how Blanche lies about the truth as a shield against reality
-Appears in many scenes, as it was an important aspect during the time can be considered a motif. Is used to set the atmosphere
-The "blue piano" can also be considered a motif. it is mentioned in scenes when Blanche kisses the young man and when Mitch tells Blanche he will not marry her. Stands for loneliness and longing for love
"There's something about her...that suggests a moth" (117). Supports Blanche's aversion towards light, like a moth she is wandering and fickle and prefers darkness
Symbols/ Motifs
Stanley is described very animal like and is compared to an ape at one point (72). This image is used to symbolize Stanley's primitive and physical side
Blanche's constant bathing is her way of calming her nerves. This is a motif because it occurs many times. It stands for renewal "I fell so good and-rested!"
Light symbolizes truth, and is used to show the contrast between Stanley and Blanche's characters
Stanley hurls a large piece of meat at stella, this action symbolizes their sexually based relationship as well as his ownership over her
Theme Analysis
Relationship Between Sex and Death
Blanche asserts herself sexually most of the time towards men throughout the play, specifically in the scene with the young man. in this scene, she feels she will be able to avoid her ultimate fear, death, and and be able to return to her youthful years she experienced, before the death of her husband, Allan. The journey she takes from taking a streetcar called Desire that goes to a street called Cemeteries allegorically displays the consequences Blanche has faced when pursuing her sexual desires;
pandering in ones desires through sexual relations attributes to death and departure
, in Blanche's experience
Theme Analysis
Fantasy and Imagination
Lying to herself and others is Blanche's way of making life appear as it should be rather than it is, as she explains to Mitch in scene nine. She uses her imagination as an outlet to create a fantasy world that protects her from facing the truth. Her inability to join in with reality, in its inevitable triumph through out the play, leads to her being sent off to an insane asylum.
The political cartoon can be compared to Blanche's inability to overcome reality. Because of her refusal to accept the truth, she was unable live on the terms of society and was sent to an institution.
Essential Question
How can change or challenges affect a person's life?

1.How did the the death of Allan serve as an obstacle for Blanche? could this of effected her struggle of maintaining her youth?
2.How did the presence of Blanche in the Kowalski home effect Stanley and Stella's relationship?

Trading cards
Character traits:
Sister of Stella Kowalski
Indulges in an excessive lifestyle. has a drinking problem and dainty and frail mannerisms.
Blanche DuBois
Stanley Kowalski
Character Traits:
Husband of Stella Kowalski
Animalistic and physical behavior. loves work, fighting and sex
Stella Kowalski
Character Traits:
Wife of Stanley Kowalski
Both animalistic and spiritual. a medium between Blanche and Stanley's characteristic
Harold "Mitch" Mitchell
Character Traits:
Stanley's army friend and one of Blanche's interests
Helpful, clumsy and sweaty
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