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Throughout the novel, Williams has referred to animalistic behavior and virtues. He presents New Orleans as a jungle; a metaphor Williams uses to portray the primitive, sub-human nature of its inhabitants. Stanley epitomizes this as he represents the brutes of society that dominate in this jungle. Williams conveys both imagery and dialogue to portray this notion throughout the novel as Stanley performs brutish acts and declares, "I am the king around here, so don't you forget it." Beating his wife Stella is one significant act that portrays Stanley's brutish characteristics. In addition, throughout the novel Stanley presents himself as a self-important brute, driven by the force of desire that enables him to thrive in the jungle that really is his "Elysian Fields."
Examining the climax, it is apparent that the animalistic predisposition are out in full force in Stanley as he parades around in a "vivid green silk bowling shirt" and "brilliant silk pajamas." Therefore, the rape is a result of an act of brutal desire in its most futile form, stemming from animal impulses and hostility that propelled the two towards each other. The rape is an act in which each character is at the peak of their battle, which is to be the "final hand" in the game of desire. Furthermore, a symbolic event that I believe foreshadows the rape is when Stella pours Blanche a drink, a coke with a shot of whiskey. It overflows and spills foam on Blanche's dress. Upset by being dirty and violated, Blanche screams with a piercing cry about stains on her pastel-colored dress.
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One object that holds a symbolic meaning in the novel is the paper lantern. Mitch, a poker friend of Stanley's, became impressed by Blanche and strikes up a conversation with her after a poker game one night. He behaves like a gentleman and puts a protective "adorable little paper lantern" on one of the bare light bulbs at her request to soften the glare. Blanche says, "I can't stand a naked light bulb any more than I can a rude remark or a vulgar action." With the paper lampshade and the proper atmosphere of subdued lighting, Blanche creates a soft, exotic, romantic dream-like world in the room. "We've made enchantment," says Blanche. Symbolically, she is physically, psychologically, emotionally fragile, and hypersensitive to glaring bright lights which would reveal her declining beauty.
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In "A Streetcar Named Desire," Tennessee Williams uses a great deal of symbolism to intrigue his audience in one woman's battle for desire. One way Williams does this is through his references of Stanley's animalistic behavior, including parading around in his symbolic "brilliant pink pajamas" that he wore on the night of his wedding' thus, resulting in the brutal desire act of rape. I believe the symbolism is what made the novel one of Williams most recognized novels. The symbolism's progressed the plot, helped in character growth, and even foreshadow future events, such as Blanche's reaction to her stained dress foreshadowing the future event of Stanley raping her.