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Street Car

Street Car The play A Streetcar Named Desire made playwright Tennessee William’s name and has deservedly since had over half a century of success. This remarkable success can be credited to the intricate characters and their interactions with each other. Sisters, Stella and Blanche have had an enjoyable upbringing on the family plantation, Belle Reve. As the name suggests Stella and Blanche’s time at Belle Reve was near perfect. Like all things perfect it had to come to an end.

While Stella did the logical thing and left the ‘beautiful dream’ and married Stan, Blanche hung on to it unable to move on and face reality. Blanche comes to Stella in an unbalanced state of mind in need of her sister’s aid. The impression is given that this isn’t the first time Stella has been there to help Blanche through a time of trouble. As much as she needs her help and as much as she respects her, Blanche strongly disapproves of her sister’s new life. Stella tolerates Blanche’s continual criticism of her husband, home and friends very well.

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From this and many other incidents throughout the play we see what a tolerant and adaptable person Stella is. Stan and Stella’s relationship is far from ideal. Stan is a violent man. On occasions he hits Stella, but comes after her to satisfy his sexual needs. This is not to say that Stella is unhappy in her marriage to Stan. She has adapted to the way of life in Elysian Fields where it’s accepted that women have arguments with their husbands and as a result are hit by them. Eunice and Steve have a similar relationship it is normal.

Despite their violent relationship Stella relies on Stan as much as he does on her. Stella really does need Stan and the security he provides, especially with a baby on the way. Even if she weren’t expecting a child Stella would have a lot of trouble leaving Stan. She admits to Blanche that, I can hardly stand it when he is away for a nightand when he comes back I cry on his lap like a baby. From the moment Blanche first came to stay at Stella and Stan’s home she posed a threat to Stan.

He was used to being the only one Stella cared for, the one who ruled her. He wasn’t happy that somebody he had never met could move into his own territory and while residing there, treat him as an inferior and call him a survivor of the Stone Age. He felt so threatened by her presence that he competed for dominance over Stella, unfairly. He overstepped the boundaries on several occasions. He went through Blanche’s personal belongings, he spread malicious gossip about Blanche’s past ruining any hopes she had for a future with Mitch and in one last final act to ensure he had won he raped her. Stan appears not to feel any guilt whatsoever for his acts that led to the complete mental destruction of Blanche.

Stella had to choose between her sister and her husband. There is no way that two people as incompatible as Stan and Blanche could live comfortably around each other. For a considerable amount of time Stella did her best to support both Blanche and Stan, negotiating middle ground. However, this couldn’t last for long because they were forever competing with each other, the ultimate prize being Stella. Stella chooses to ignore the truth about Stan’s sexual assault on Blanche. This could either be a result of his incredible power over her, or the fact that she sees the future would be a lot easier for her, her child and Blanche should she stay with Stan and let Blanche be committed to a mental asylum.

A Streetcar Named Desire would hardly have a story if the characters weren’t so complex and didn’t interact with each other in the way in which they do. It’s the intriguing fragile character of Blanche, the amazing tolerant, adaptable Stella and the power and sex driven Stanley that makes the play so interesting. And then tension between Stan and Blanche, Stella’s test of what is thicker: water or blood? -All of these things brought up by the strong personalities of the main characters and their interactions add to the play making it hugely appealing, this resulting in it’s success. Acceptance Essays.

Street Car

A Streetcar Named Desire:
Thematic Analysis
(Time/Adaptation)
Nick Michalak
ENG 4AO
June 15, 1999
Mr. Beckett
The theme of time/adaptation is used in Tennessee Williams play A
Streetcar Named Desire. This theme is used to describe the plight of the lead
character, Blanche Dubois. Blanche clings to her past as a the only source of
real happiness in her life. She refuses to accept that things have changed,
and she is not the woman she was ten years ago. Blanche looks down at her
sister for accepting a life that is relatively obscure when compared to the
posh surroundings they were raised in. Blanche harbors the delusion that she
will be rescued by a man who will carry her away from her all of her
problems. It is this stubborn refusal to adapt to a new life that causes
Blanches descent into madness.
Blanche clings to her past as a the only source of real happiness in
her life. She refuses to accept that things have changed, and she is not the
woman she was ten years ago. One thing that Blanche will forever dwell upon
is her looks. She cannot accept that she is no longer young and beautiful,
yet she insists on convincing everyone to the contrary. “You know that I
havent put on one ounce in ten years, Stella? (Pg. 22)” Perhaps it is true
that Blanche has not gained any weight, but the fact that she feels the need
to brag about it illustrates her own insecurities. Blanche is very insecure
about her aging looks, so much so that she feels the need to deceive Mitch, a
man she wants to marry. “What it means is Ive never had a real good look at
you, Blanche. (pg. 116)” Blanche is obsessed with making people see her as
the girl she was ten years ago, rather than the aging woman she is today. In
her own mind, Blanche has not changed in the past ten years. This shows her
refusal to adapt to the present, which is a contributing factor in her
inevitable downfall.


Blanche looks down at her sister for accepting a life that is relatively
obscure when compared to the posh surroundings they were raised in. This is
evident from the time Blanche first arrives at Elysian Fields. “They mustnt
haveunderstoodwhat number I wanted. (pg. 15)” Blanche is in utter disbelief
that her sister, whom she still regards as a member of high-society, could
reside in a working-class neighborhood. She goes so far as to openly pity her
sister for her low-class lifestyle. “Why, that you had to live in these
conditions! (pg. 20)” Blanche is insulting Stellas choice of accepting a
more common lifestyle. The fact that Blanche looks down at her sisters
low-class lifestyle shows that she still regards herself as a high-class
individual. Therefore, Blanche is living in a world of fantasy where she has
convinced herself that she is the same woman she was when her family was
still wealthy and powerful.

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Blanche harbors the delusion that she will be rescued by a man who
will carry her away from all of her problems. She deceives Mitch because she
wants to ensure a perfect romance; one free of imperfections such as her
face. She confesses to Mitch that she lives in a world of romantic fantasy.
“I dont want realism, I want magic! Yes, yes, magic! I try to give that to
people. I misrepresent things to them. I dont tell the truth, I tell what
ought to be the truth. And if that is sinful, then let me be damned for it!
–Dont turn the light on! (pg. 117)” This quote shows that Blanche has begun
to lose her mind. She sums up her state of metal-well being by admitting to
telling “what ought to be the truth”. Blanche also appears frantic when Mitch
tries to turn on the light, indicating that she is still very much
self-conscious about her looks. When things have fallen apart with Mitch,
Blanche resorts to making up an elaborate fantasy to console her. “I received
a telegram from an old admirer of mine. (pg. 123)” This is her last attempt
to find some sort of happiness before she is committed to the asylum.
It is this stubborn refusal to adapt to a new life that causes
Blanches descent into madness. She insists on deceiving everyoneherself
includedinto thinking that she is the same woman she was ten years ago.
Blanche dwells in the rubble of her shattered past, rather than rebuilding on
it. Her insecurities force her to develop a string of complex lies to cover
her own numerous flaws. These lies turn into delusions as she begins to
believe them herself, which leads to Blanches total loss of sanity.

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