• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

A Streetcar Named Desire.

Extracts from this document...


"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.


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.


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level A Street Car Named Desire section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level A Street Car Named Desire essays

  1. A Streetcar Named Desire - scenes 2 and 3 reviewed.

    * Stanley gets impatient with the story and shouts, 'deal!'- This is because he has lost money and he is a bit drunk. He his losing but he always likes to win. * Tennessee Williams brings in the women directly after the jokes.

  2. A streetcar named desire - Exploration notes context/structure/language/plot&subplot/visual aural spatial.

    Spring is traditionally a time for new birth, growth, happiness. This clearly matches what is happening in the play. Scenes 7-8 are bridge chapters: they take place during the summer months, which helps to show the intensity of the heated emotions and passion.

  1. How important are illusions and fantasy as themes in 'A Streetcar Named Desire?'

    However, the audience learns that these intimacies got out of control, and she was told to leave her town as a result. When Blanche arrives in New Orleans, she creates more illusions, trying to convince herself and everyone around her that she is on vacation.

  2. A Steercar Named Desire - Blanche's Psychological Breakdown.

    This behavior is evident when she first comes to Stella's and puts a paper lantern over the light bulb. Towards the end, when the doctor comes for Blanche and she says she forgot something, Stanley hands her her paper lantern.

  1. Discuss the view that A Streetcar Named Desire is a play concerned with the ...

    we struggle to find a reason for her cool manipulation and hunger for power while at others we pity her pathetic life founded on lies and misconceptions. Even when she tries to break up Stanley and Stella's relationship we don't immediately brand her as a villain, we remember that if

  2. The themes of death and desire are central in the play A Streetcar Named ...

    to reveal its irony, and perhaps cast allusions to Blanche's deteriorating mental health. So right from the outset Williams has given us an unmistakable hint as to the ideas and themes, which will be unravelled throughout the play. Though this is where the play begins, the story's roots can be found 30 years previously.

  1. Streetcar Coursework 2

    on looking her best and it also shows that she is more stable and happy when she is in a bath or recently out of one. Some areas in the play disagree with what Williams says about his protagonist, one of these is the way she stands up to Stanley.

  2. Williams employs the symbol of light in order to emphasize Blanche's fear-raddled inner conflict ...

    And turn that light off! I won't be looked at in this merciless glare!" (19). The character's despair permeates the line, emphasized through her repetition of- "no, no, no," and the repeated use of exclamation marks, which appears to signify the breadth and intensity of her emotions.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work