Blanche and Stella; Cecilia and Briony Character Analysis Essay

Blanche and Stella; Cecilia and Briony Character Analysis Essay

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The play A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams first opened in Boston in November 1947. It also opened later that year in New York and ran for 855 performances. It shows a confrontation between the Old South and traditional values and the materialistic and industrial ‘new’ America. This turbulent confrontation is shown through the characters of Blanche and Stanley, with Blanche’s sister Stella caught in the middle. It was written after The Great Depression and the American Civil War. The novel Atonement by Ian McEwan was first published in 2001. It is set in 1935 and is about Briony a 13 year old girl who make a mistake that dramatically changes the lives of her sister Cecilia and her childhood friend Robbie. She spends the rest of her life trying to atone for what she did.

Atonement and A Streetcar Named Desire are very different in many ways but they also have similarities, in both the play and the novel, the central relationship is that of sisters. The bond between sisters is a very strong bond; sisters normally grow up together and are very close. Sisters know everything about each other and usually sick together no matter what.

‘She is daintily dressed ………………………………………………….Hat’

In A Streetcar Named Desire the characters Blanche and Stella are both from a rich background; brought up as southern belles. They grew up at Belle Reve a huge house which originally had lots of land …..Quote…….. But over the years got sold to pay for bills and expenses after the abolition of the slave trade. When Blanche arrives in Elysian Fields she looks ‘as if she were arriving at a summer tea or cocktail party in the garden district.’

Similarly in Atonement, Briony and Cecilia had a rich upbringing too. Cecilia attended Cambri...

... middle of paper ... speaks using proper English; this sets him apart from Nettle and Mace who use colloquial language. It emphasises Robbie’s lucky upbringing but, it also make the audience feel as though Robbie doesn’t fit in with Nettle and Mace; reminding us he shouldn’t be fighting in the war.

At the end of A Streetcar Named Desire, Stella ‘sobs with inhuman abandon’ and Stanley kneels beside her, unsure what to do. Stella feels incredibly guilty for letting her sister, Blanche, be taken to the mental hospital, she feels as though its her duty, as her sister, to look after her. However this is impossible because Stanley raped her and Stella refuse to believe it, so, she does nothing and the play ends with Stanley's fingers finding ‘the opening of her blouse’. ………………..other reading…………….

Works Cited
'Atonement' by Ian McEwan
'A Streetcar Named Desire' by Tennessee Williams

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