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A Streetcar Named Desire

introduction to characters, setting, themes and background

Danika Barker

on 11 May 2010

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Transcript of A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire
by Tennessee Williams Setting http://www.quantumtour.com/entity/neworleans/ http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=French+Quarter,+New+Orleans,+LA,+United+States&sll=29.959584,-90.062999&sspn=0.027439,0.047636&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=French+Quarter,+New+Orleans,+Louisiana,+United+States&z=14 Care to take a walk? "The Big Easy" Jazz The Old South Time Period: Just after WWII Time of Expansion and Pride Rebirth of the American Dream Music is a big part of New Orleans and a big part of this play Belle Reve= Beautiful Dream Belle Reve, in the town of Laurel, Mississippi – Blanche and Stella’s childhood home – the word is
Blanche has been living at Belle Reve before the play starts Belle Reve has been lost to the Dubois family
Blanche lived there, nursing all her ill relatives, until the plantation house had to be sold to pay for previous bad debts. Characters Stanley Kowalski Was in war – working class guy
Best friends with Mitch.
Likes to drink, gamble.
Married to Stella Blanche Dubois Her name means “white wood”
Delicate southern belle
Comes into conflict with Stanley
Prior to start of play, Blanche has been living in Belle Reve working as a teacher Stella Kowalski Stella’s name means ‘star’ – Blanche often calls her this.
Leaves her home to marry Stanley
Totally in love/lust with Stanley
Harold Mitchell "Mitch" Friend of Stanley
War buddy
Works in the same place as Stanley
More refined.
Has a sick mother
Is attracted to Blanche’s delicate qualities. Eunice and Steve

Upstairs neighbours of Stanley and Stella.
Earthy, raw people, not refined. Fight frequently, get drunk frequently. Eunice is protective of Stella. The Four Manifestations of the American Dream Being the “top dog”, high status, achieving the pinnacle of power like being President of the United States. The Perfect Family – material success, happy family, happy home in suburbs, “apple pie”
The Entrepreneur – the inventor, the idea guy who makes it big from sheer hard work and brains The Rugged Individualist – wants to escape from the power and control of the ‘system’ Symbol
An object or image that stands for itself but also represents an abstract idea: Symbols in this play: paper lantern
naked light bulb
the blue piano
the Varsouviana
Belle Reve
Elysian Fields
Motif: A recurring image, word, phrase, or object that hints to us about character or theme.
Motifs in this play: Animals
Light and shadow
Hot baths
Fake fur/ jewelry
Love letters
Gun shot
Napoleonic Code
Lawyers’ papers
Theme: A unifying idea that is a recurrent element in a literary or artistic work. Themes in this play Fantasy/ Illusion
The Primitive/Primal
Desire vs Death
The American Dream
Full transcript