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A Streetcar Named Desire

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Belinda Bannavong

on 8 March 2013

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Transcript of A Streetcar Named Desire

"Let us then suppose the mind to be, as we say, white paper void of all characters, without any ideas. How comes it to be furnished? Whence comes it by that vast store which the busy and boundless fancy of man has painted on it with an almost endless variety? Whence has it all the materials of reason and knowledge? To this I answer, in one word, from experience"
- John Locke The Kowalski's Baby Stella and Stanley's child marks the beginning as a tabula rasa (blank slate) in Locke's Blank slate theory. Their son has yet to be influenced by the various colors of their environment, adversities he'll have to face in life, and most importantly his parent. His parents will be a major influence in how he'll form his relationships and how he'll view the world. Which is why his birth was a major concern for Blanche, as the saying like father like son/daughter comes into play. She fears that Stella will be raising a future Stanley - a barbarian. Stella Kowalski Harold Mitchell Stanely Kowalksi Blanche Dubois Thesis Tennessee Williams implies that the human condition is complex, that individuals are blank slates and adversity is a major factor in shaping their human context. The Blank Slate Theory A theory which was founded by an Enlightenment philosopher, John Locke, and became highly influential in the 20th century. Its essential core states that humans at birth are a "clean slate", lacking in both instinct and nature. Therefore our personality and our human context derives from various factors: parents, culture and experience.
It remains to be a controversial topic on where others voice that individuals are to a certain degree, shaped by our genes. Take the Mallifert twins for example who were separated at birth and brought together again years later. Although both were raised in different environments they still shared many similarities and quirks. INTRODUCTION Conclusion • Play implies that Stella grew up in an abusive household that Blanche wasn't aware of (married early)
• Eventually pushed her into leaving home at a tender after her father's passing
• Result of not having her sister there for her while she was experiencing such hardships lead Stella to seeks refuge in Stanley as being the only one she can truly depend on
• Unlike Blanche who seeks solace through illusions through literature and fantasy, Stella also resorts to similar means but in the image she's projected of Stanley.
•In the end: Stella chose Stanley over her own blood Insecure about her appearance & hates light
Blanche is a 30 years old widow - surpassed societies standard age to be married & her past of Allen cheating on her has subconsciously left her to feel inadequate in looks.
Metaphorically: light symbolizes the truth
Sensitive individual- most preferred method to escape her problems is through illusions; literature; lying and alcohol
Disappointment from the belief that life would always work out in the end (loss of innocence)
Constantly being surrounded by death - naturally began to hate being alone and the silence that followed it. Craved the opposite of death, desire, leading her to gain a reputation as a prostitute.
Prostitution - Blanche would be overwhelmed by her dirty actions and would bathe in order to wash way her sins. This eventually because habitual to her and hydrotherapy was incorporated as another method to escape reality
Problems were all fixable if someone had offered her genuine care & kindness. She believed she could find that comfort in Stella, the only person she had left.
Stella and Allen held a large influence over Blanche (only individuals who were able to bring her back to reality). Allen Grey - Only man Blanche has ever sincerely loved despite the fact that she tries to deny it after his death.
Shown when she describes meeting him as a blinding light in her life which was kept in the dark for so long.
One of the few people who gave Blanche the courage to face reality through his kindness & poetry.
Shocking suicide after being confronted for cheating with another male traumatized Blanche into retreating into the dark again. The cause of his suicide can be analyzed by the following:
Lived in the Old South of Mississippi. Mississippi was located in the Bible Belt of America making it a highly religious state. The bible severely condemned homosexuality as well as cheating.
Allen is a sensitive individual like Blanche. Which is why Allen wouldn't be able to face Blanche and tell her the truth about his sexual orientation. He sought salvation from his problems through suicide as a means to not confront reality. Never physically present in the play, Huntleigh plays a large influence in Blanche's illusions when she's in need of salvation from the harshness of reality.
Symbolizes the perfect man; as a wealthy gentlemen embodying the beliefs & values of the Old South.
Mitch can only be compared as being the diminished ideal.
In Blanche's mind Huntleigh is persevered as the young man she dated back in college who let her wear his ATO pin, as opposed to Allen who she views as someone who betrayed her. Allen Grey Shep Huntleigh Raised in an environment which was filled with misconceptions, Stanley's Polish ethnicity and the income of his household held him back in life.
Polish immigrants during those times were seen in a negative lighting for being unintelligent and lazy (called Pollacks as a discriminative term)
Grew up having to fight against this stereotype developing a tough skin towards the world in order to survive.
Why he values his pride above everything & his desire to win.
Shown in his possessions, particularly his wife and his street knowledge.
Why he despises Blanche to such an extent:
She threatened to take away his friendship with Mitch
Intruded on his privacy in his own home
Damaged his pride by calling him a Pollack, Ape and various beastly names, lessening his value as an intelligent human being
Began to empower his wife and caused tensions in his marriage
Stanley felt like he had no choice but to break down Blanche through exploiting her (psychologically & physically) instead of losing his life's achievement.
His need for control, lust and the abuse we see in Stanley' s relationships, (mostly with his wife) can only be influenced by his parents. The first relationship he's ever been exposed to, leading him to believe that this is the norm on how to treat others . Still naive about the world when she met Stanley
Pre-exposure to abuse gave her a negative connotation on how a healthy relationship should be
Eunice and Pablo live upstairs from Stella and Stanley and share an abusive relationship as well Stella Kowalski Over dependency
Initial exposure to unhealthy relationships
Child on the way { Factors that allows Stella to be blinded & bonded to him despite experiencing abuse Nothing is noted about Mitch's father and it can be assumed that he was never present or wasn't in Mitch's life for a long period of time.
Under the guidance of his mother:
Mitch grew up to be slightly more sensitive than other males
learned the proper ways to treat a women, through gallantry.
Best friends with Stanley: Mitch was well aware of Stanley's looks; ability to seduce women; climb the ranks at work and basically get everything he wanted in life.
Mitch's sensitive personality naturally began to compare himself to Stanley, leading to his insecurity in himself in all senses aside from just physically.
The inability to prevent his mother's foredooming death and the confirmation of Blanche's facade served as a breaking point.
Decided to act in the same brutish manner as Stanley, foregoing his status as the good guy which gave zero results.
Compared to Stanley who always wins, Mitch will always lose. Harper Lee cleverly stated in his text, How to Kill a Mocking Bird, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” this also implies to A Streetcar Named Desire. Tennessee Williams reveals that humans are much more complex than meets the eye. Everyone is fighting their own internal battles and the victories and failures show in our context, while Locke also implies that our upbringing serves as a major factor in our character. With both ideas in conjunction we are able to bring clarity to these questions and see that every character in the play, no matter how small the role, had a significant impact on the development of the plot line. The goal was not to direct blame onto their adversities for their actions within the play, but to justify the logic for them because no one is born truly evil or good. The current Blanche sometimes felt tempted by younger men,
( eg. Paperboy & her student) because they reminded her of Allen & Shep in their youth when she was in a relationship with them. Thank You
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