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A Streetcar Named Desire.

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Introduction

"Blanche will be destroyed unless she can reconcile herself to modern American values. Rather than face such a harsh reality, and unprepared to abandon her bond with a dying culture, she retreats into a fantasy world, surrounded by 'a group of spectral admirers'. Stella survives. Is the play's final message adapt or perish?" The opinion of the above critic discusses Blanche as a central character and several aspects of the play that may ultimately lead to Blanches downfall. We must first observe the term 'American values' and define what they meant to Williams, what they mean know and how important they were in 1950's America. The typical American dream that can be considered today is of the typical nuclear family in the suburbs of modern day America. This view seems to adopt materialistic values and somewhat disserts the original conditions on which America was supposed to be built. The most predominant of these conditions was those of freedom and liberty. When we relate this to A Streetcar Named Desire it can be argued that the families represent different aspects of the dream. Blanches character, the old world and the concept of her dying culture is that of the materialistic American values and the prejudices and arrogance that occurred as a consequence of the democracy. Stanley on the other hand is the personification in all that is morally and primitively representative of the American dream. ...read more.

Middle

When viewing these two different approaches it clearly shows Blanches inability to change or adapt. It is not in her nature or experience to have to alter to suit others, it has been her experience that she could persuade people to fit her personal needs, but in this case the immense differences between the new and old-world are too much for Blanches powers of seduction. This element also gives the play a certain inevitability, and as well as inspiring pathos within the audience it seems Blanche is deemed to perish due to fate and no amount of adaptation or change will alter this fate. This is also highlighted in Gilberts review regarding the rape scene. As well as it being the climax of the play it also concludes the conflict through Stanleys display of dominance and Blanches helplessness, the ultimate act of repression of Blanche and her 'dying culture'. Contrastingly it can also be argued that Blanche is the central character and the most influential aspect of the play. One such critic who debates such an opinion is Shirley Galloway. The title of Galloways critical review 'Last Stop: Blanches Breakdown' suggests her feeling of Blanches importance within the play. But contrastingly to this her opening line discusses the 'intricate web of complex themes and conflicted characters.' In a review written by an unknown writer it suggests Blanches pivotal role in the play. ...read more.

Conclusion

She could be viewed as a catalyst to the plays themes and embodiment of them also e.g. conflict (within). Although, I hold the opinion that A Streetcar Named Desire is a play, not about Blanche but the difficulties and differences in the face of modern society and it emphasises the changing American values. Although the second opinions theory of Blanches unwillingness to change is well backed up I don't think that it is the case about her refusal to adapt. I think that it is due to Blanches fragility as a character and bond held with the old-world that prevents her adaptation. This is due to Stellas experience. Stella is quite evident as a stronger and central character who held fewer links with the old-world to break. Stanley was born into this new-world of liberty and holds the power which males of the day held and could excerpt this power as he wished. In conclusion although Blanche is a representation of many themes and symbols, she is not strong enough as a character to hold and take them through to the new-world. If we turn to Darwinian theory it holds the concepts of evolution and 'survival of the fittest'. It is the case that the latter causes evolution but evolution does not occur without 'fitness' or strength in regards to Blanche. It is then, 'survival of the fittest' not 'adapt or perish' that is the final message within A Streetcar Named Desire. Andrew Wilson T 1-7 28/04/07 English Literature Coursework - A Streetcar Named Desire ...read more.

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