Essay on Williams' Use of Imagery and Symbolism in A Streetcar Named Desire

Essay on Williams' Use of Imagery and Symbolism in A Streetcar Named Desire

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Williams' Use of Imagery and Symbolism in A Streetcar Named Desire

Williams uses figurative language in his lengthy stage directions to
convey to the reader a deeper, more intense picture than a description
alone could express. In the opening stage direction Williams
illustrates the area around Elysian Fields. He uses personification to
describe "the warm breath of the brown river" (P1). I think this
creates an atmosphere that is decaying yet at the same time welcoming
and affectionate. This is contrasted by Williams' depiction of the
"tender blue" (P1) sky and the "weathered grey" (P1) houses,
suggesting a tension hanging over Elysian Fields. Symbolically Elysian
Fields, where Stella and Stanley live is the name of the place in
Greek mythology where heroes went after death. They were able to
return at any time to Earth if they wished but few wished to return
and relinquish the pleasure they had found there. I think Williams
uses this to reflect Stella's life in Elysian Fields. Stella lives in
her own kind of paradise which Blanche is unable to see and she has no
desire to return to her old life.

Williams in the opening stage directions, introduces the music of the
"Blue Piano" (P1). He describes the music as "a tinny piano being
played with the infatuated fluency of brown fingers" (P1). This
metaphor expresses the proficiency of the pianist and his devotion to
his music. Williams states that the "Blue Piano expresses the spirit
of the life which goes on [in Elysian Fields]" (P1) and uses this
symbolically throughout the play. "The music of the 'blue piano' grows
louder" (P13) as Blanche informs Stella of the loss of Belle Reve. I
...


... middle of paper ...


...
is operating a good bluff up to scene five as Mitch "thinks [she is]
sort of - prim and proper" (P63). I think that Williams uses the game
of poker to represent the bluffing and tensions, which occur between
Stanley and Blanche. Stanley warns Blanche "to interest [him] a woman
would have to - lay…her cards on the table" (P25). At the end of the
play as Blanche leaves Elysian Fields "Eunice descends to Stella and
places the child in her arms" (P124) and Steve declares, "This game is
seven-card stud". Williams uses the poker game to show that Stanley
has finished the game with the best hand and won the pot. Stanley has
his wife, child, home and friends and Blanche leaves with nothing.



Bibliography
============

Williams, Tennessee (1947). A Streetcar Named Desire, Oxford,
Heinemann Eduactional Publishers

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