Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire
Length: 1517 words (4.3 double-spaced pages)
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The play, ‘A street car named desire’ was written by an author named
Tennessee Williams. His real name was Thomas Lanier. He assumed the
name ‘Tennessee’ in 1938 because he said, “the Williams fought the
Indians for Tennessee.” Tennessee was born on March 26th 1911 in
Columbus Mississippi. When he was a teenager he realised the life of a
young writer was going to be something similar to the defence of the
stockade against a band of peasants. A description reminiscent of
Blanches battles with Stanley in the street car named desire is what
Tennessee was trying to refer to his own life.
The play was set in New Orleans which is named Elysian Fields and runs
between the L&N tracks and the river. Elysian Fields is quite a poor
and run down area but unlike most other American cities, it has a
raffish charm. The houses mostly have a white frame, have a weathered
grey colour with rickety outside stairs
In scene 1-3 it is all about Blanche getting used to New Orleans. She
finds it difficult to like and fit in because it is much different to
where she lived before (Belle Reve). This is because Belle Reve was a
very upper-class area where as New Orleans is more average, run down
and has a mixed community.
Blanche doesn’t like New Orleans or where Stella is living. She is
very snobbish and thinks it is a dump. “I thought you would never come
back to this horrible place.” this shows that Blanche does not approve
of, or likes where Stella is living. Blanche is also implying that she
is more superior by the way she is talking.
“ I didn’t mean to say that I meant to be nice about it and say – Oh.
” this shows that Blanche knows it is a horrible place, but she didn’t
want to be rude, so she was meant to say “ Oh ” to make it sound as if
she likes the place that Stella and Stanley are living in.
In scene 2 Stanley starts demonstrating his dislikes for Blanche. He
does this because he thinks Blanche sold Belle Reve and kept the money
for herself. “I think you have been swindled.”
In scene 2 there is an argument between Stanley and Blanche about
Belle Reve. Stanley is angry because he wants proof on paper that
Belle Reve was not sold by Blanche for herself. Blanche ends up wining
the argument by proving Stanley wrong about Belle Reve, that it was
infact lost and not sold by Blanche.
Stanley tries to assert his
status in the house because since Blanche came to the house to stay,
Stella has been trying to control Stanley, telling him what to do, and
for him to be nice to Blanche but Stanley finds it difficult to do
this because he doesn’t particularly like Blanche. Stella was rude to
Stanley and done things to make him angry which made him loose his
temper which resulted in him throw things around the house and beating
In scenes 4–6 Blanche shows her dislike towards Stanley and how much
she disapproves of him. Blanche is not happy with Stanley beating
Stella especially because Stella is pregnant. Blanche reacts in a
shocked way towards this because of how Stella is so calm and thinks
nothing of what happened when Stanley beat her. Blanche keeps
questioning Stella about why she came back, trying to make sense of
what happened. “What were you thinking of? Answer me! What? What?”
this shows that Blanche was angry about Blanche coming back, she
didn’t expect her to forgive Stanley.
Stella doesn’t think much of her husband Stanley’s violent behaviour
because she feels it is normal for Stanley to hit her. “Blanche I’d
forgotten hoe excitable you are, you’re making too much of a fuss
about this.” Stella is making out that it is not a big deal, and it is
just something that always happens.
Blanche also implies that Stanley is uncivilised and does not know how
to behave towards her. “He acts like an animal, he has animal’s
habits! Eats like one, talks like one! There’s even something sub
human, something not quite to the stage of humanity yet!
In scene 5 Blanche is obsessed with Shep Hutley because he is rich and
Blanche wants his money and also she wants to prove to Stella and
Stanley that she has someone in her life. “I am writing a letter to
Shep. Darling Shep, I am spending the summer on the wing, making
flying visits here and there. And who knows, perhaps I shake the
sudden notion to swoop down on Dallas.” Blanche is trying to show off
to Stella and Stanley by writing the letter out aloud and by calling
him darling which implies that they have some sort of relationship.
When Blanche talks about Mitch, she treats him like he doesn’t like
her and she has to try and make an impression on him because she likes
him. “I want Mitch very badly.” “I guess im just nervous about our
relations.” This shows that Blanche is concerned about her
relationship with Mitch because she is not sure he likes her.
Blanche and Mitch are on their first date and their relationship isn’t
going to well because they get into an argument. Blanche refuses to
tell Mitch her age, she acts in a way as if she is hiding something.
“How old are you?” Mitch asked. “Why do you want to know?” This shows
that there is no connection between them because they cannot share
personal things and talk to each other.
In scene 7 Stella reacts and has an argument with Stanley because
since Blanche has come to their house, Stanley has been picking on her
and has been doing al he can to make Blanche uncomfortable.
”Stanley, stop picking on Blanche. Lately you have been doing all you
can think of to rub her the wrong way. Stanley, Blanche is sensitive
and you’ve got to realise that Blanche and I grew up under very
different circumstances than you did.”
Stanley’s accusations towards Blanche are that she is a liar and she
is someone that can not be trusted. “Lie number one. All this
squeamishness she puts on! You should just know the line she’s been
feeding to Mitch. He thought she had never been more than kissed by a
fellow! But sister Blanche is no lily! Ha-ha some lily she is. This is
the lie she is telling Mitch.”
In scene 8 on Blanche’s birthday, Stanley’s present that he gave her
was a ticket back to Laurel. Stanley is trying to remind Stella of the
good times they used to have before Blanche came along. He wants
Blanche to know that she is not wanted and since she has arrived, she
has only bought problems between Stanley and Stella. “We was happy
together, wasn’t it all okay till she showed here.”
The expected baby makes Stanley really happy because he thinks it
would bring him and Stella closer because it will just be him, Stella
and the baby. “Its going to be all right again between you and me, the
way it was.”
In scenes 9 and 10 Stanley doubts the existents of Shep Hutley because
the way he sees it is, if he really loved her that much she would be
staying with him instead of with Stanley and Stella. Stanley acts in a
sarcastic way towards Blanche about Shep to make her feel low and to
see her reaction. “Well it’s a red letter night for us both. You,
having an oil millionaire and me having a baby.” This got to Blanche
and made her react to it, she ended up cracking and spilling the
truth. “There is no millionaire.”
Later on in scene 10 Stanley gets the idea to rape Blanche because he
feels that he is sexually attracted to her and he has thought about
her since she has came to stay. “I’ve been on to you from the start.”
I think Stella knows about Stanley raping Blanche because after the
incident took place, Blanche began acting in a strange way.
After the rape, Blanche began turning mad. “Don’t ever believe it,
life has got to go on. No matter what happens, you’ve got to keep on
going.” Blanche also began to act paranoid. “Why are you looking at me
like that? Is something wrong with me?”
Blanches madness progress to a point where Stanley tears off the paper
lantern she bought and she begins to cry out as if she is in pain. The
doctor had to come to calm her down, he spoke to her very calmly in a
gentle and reassuring voice.
When Blanche left the house, she made a comment which was quite
touching, she was trying to say that her family and friends dislike
her so much and they do not show any nice feelings towards her at all,
so what she doesn’t have from the people she knows and loves, she will
have from strangers.