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A Streetcar Named Desire - The importance of Tennessee Williams' use of language

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Introduction

The use of language plays a highly important role in A Streetcar Named Desire in representing several aspects of themes or the characters themselves e.g. Stanley. One of these themes represented is the distinct difference in the language between Stanley and Blanche which quite obviously shows Blanches status in society (or her desired/previous place in society) being far superior to that of Stanley's lower, working class dialect and accent. Stanley as a character is fairly two dimensional in his emotions in the sense that the only emotions he truly shows are those of anger and lust. In my opinion his use of language serves two contrasting purposes. Firstly Stanley's language structure is made up of short words containing few syllables and his sentences are structured using many short pauses and are not particularly long to give them a brutal quality. ...read more.

Middle

e.g. 'sons of bitches' and 'ole nigger'. In my opinion this language could have been used to exaggerate one of two of Stanley's character aspects. Firstly it could be used to add to Stanley's abusive, brutal nature and emotion as a character. On the other hand it could have been to indicate his past and present social and educational status i.e. that neither were of great significance or prestige, or it could have easily been a mixture of the two. In great contrast to Stanley's, Blanches language is fully representative of her education, background and past social status. It also shows her longing to keep the prestige of her past through her language although herself has fallen from her higher standings. ...read more.

Conclusion

Evidence of Blanches exaggerated language is shown in many of her monologues including words and phrases such as 'I loved him unendurably ... the soft people have got to-shimmer and glow'. Stella is a fine example of the mixed language of Blanches poetic, romantic language and Stanley's harsh and brutal language. Stella acts as somewhat of a buffer between the two and uses neither harsh language of the streets or poetic devices but, uses somewhat of a simple, colloquial language that is used in the circumstances required whether arguing with Stanley or consoling Blanche e.g. 'coming in town' (coming into town). Finally the characters such as the Negro women and Mitch, like Stella give an aspect of dialect and colloquiums to further reality, variety and depth of the play. Andrew Wilson T1-7 28/11/02 A Streetcar Named Desire (Use of Language - Rough) ...read more.

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