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Historical context of the Streetcar Named Desire

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Amina Dardagan

on 6 May 2016

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Transcript of Historical context of the Streetcar Named Desire

The South
One of the Southern states in the USA is Louisiana, where New Orleans is located

A Streetcar Named Desire represents the decline of the aristocratic families traditionally associated with the South

A South’s agricultural base could not compete with industrialization

Once influential families lost their importance
The Woman
Blanche comes to New Orleans where everyone is accepted
Stanley and Blanche are representing two Americas

Blanche as the old, romanticized culture of the South

Stanley as the urban and greedy new America of the North
Several historical influences from Williams' life
Blanche is character based on his sister Rose who was sent to the asylum when he was 16

The character of Stanley Kowalski got the name by the acquaintance of Williams' from his work in the shoe company

The "Desire" was a real streetcar route in New Orleans, in time when Williams' lived there

He was homosexual at the time, so because he knew how it was to be homosexual in that time, he introduced that in "A Streetcar Named Desire" as Blanche's husband.
The French Quarter
provides a rich background for the emotional events of the play

symbolizes the changes that occurred after World War 2 in American Society

famous for its location of Galatoire’s restaurant where Stella takes Blanche for supper

Historical context of the Streetcar Named Desire
The play is set in 1947, in New Orleans right after the World War II.

The New Orleans is in the deep south of America, and was famous for its jazz music, clubs, multiculturalism, and one of the first places where homosexuality was tolerated.

New Orleans, which is nicknamed “The City That Care Forgot” and “The Big Easy”, has reputation of excess and sexual freedom.

A Streetcar Named Desire shows the conflict between traditional values and old world due to the physically aggressive materialism of the new world

The structure of the workforce had altered radically to include women, immigrants, and blacks.

She is being destroyed because of all she has been through and her struggles to catch up with the demands of the new world
Her sexual freedom and dependency on men do not fit the behaviour of the Southern people.
This all symbolizes destruction of the
old South
Questions??
How is New Orleans connected to the history?

How is the social status of people after World War 2 represented?

What does Blanche represent?
Sources:
Paglia, Camille. “Tennessee Williams.” A New Literary History of America. 3 Dec. 1947. Web. 3 May 2016.

“A Streetcar Named Desire opens on Broadway.” History. A+E Networks, 3 Dec. 1947. Web. 3 May 2016.

“Streetcar Named Desire, A.”Jiffynotes. Jiffynotes. 3 May 2016.
Full transcript