A Streetcar Named Desire


Tennessee Williams is known for his powerfully written psychological dramas. Most of his works are set in the southern United States and they usually portray neurotic people who are victims of their own passions, frustrations, and loneliness. The play represents the conflict between the sensitive, neurotic Blanche DuBois and the crude, animalistic Stanley Kowalski.

Blanche visits the home of her sister, Stella, in New Orleans and that is when Stanley started picking at her, almost testing her. Before she had met Stanley, she told her sister of how their plantation had been lost due to the costs of paying for the funerals of many family members. There was not enough money for her to keep the plantation. While Blanche bathed after her arrival, Stanley came home. Stella had told him what had happened and he immediately insisted that Blanche was swindling them. He hinted that Blanche had sold the plantation in order to buy beautiful furs and jewelry. He went through Blanche\'s trunk while she bathed, Stella insisted he stop. He was looking for sale papers from the plantation. After Blanche was finished bathing, Stella was outside, so Stanley started questioning Blanche. She insisted that she had nothing to hide from him and let him go through all historical papers from Belle Reve, the plantation. While living with Stella and Stanley, Blanche had met a man named Mitch, who she started dating. She liked him a lot but she hid many things from him. Firstly, she hid secrets of her first lover, her husband Allan Grey. Every time she thought of him, she thought of how he killed himself and she heard the polka which played in the background. She did not want to speak of this to Mitch. After Allan\'s death, Blanche used to go to the Tarantula Arms hotel where she would have intimacies with strangers. She did it because she felt it would fill her empty heart. She did not want to tell Mitch because she wanted him to respect her.

Blanche was very careful to hide her looks too. She felt that she was old looking and tried to avoid bright lights from glaring down on her. She covered a light in Stella\'s house with a Chinese paper lamp to keep it from being so bright she hid her looks from Mitch, he never saw her in the day. Finally, one day, Stanley tried to find out many of Blanche\'s secrets and told them to Mitch so he would not fall for her, even though he was considering marrying her. He told Mitch of her intimacies, and told him of when she had a relationship with one of her students. Mitch felt deceived, she lied to him about many things, her age, her past.

Stanley taunted Blanche until he attacked her in violent passion. When Blanche tried to tell her sister what Stanley had done to her, she does not know what to think. Blanche retreats into a private dreamworld. She tells Stella and Eunice, a friend, of how she is going to die. She says she will die from eating an unwashed grape. Grapes are a symbol with sexual overtones. Stanley represents the unwashed grape that will kill her. Blanche says that she will die with her hand in the hand of a young ship\'s doctor and she will be buried at sea. She will be dropped into an ocean as blue as her first lover\'s eyes. Blue is used in this play as a symbol of sadness. It represents her husband\'s death. Her husband, to her, was different than other men, he had beautiful blue eyes and she compared him to a seahorse. The male seahorse is different because it id him that gives birth unlike other creatures, as her husband was unlike other men. Stella does not believe her sister after she tells her what Stanley has done, instead, she has her sent to a mental institution. She cries as Blanche is taken away, perhaps she knows she has made a mistake but Stanley soothes her, telling her everything will be back to normal, as he is opening her blouse. Stanley has won, Blanche was gone, things would be like before, he thought. In this play, there were two streetcars mentioned.