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

Discuss the significance of imagery and symbolism in developing setting, character and theme in the opening scene of A Streetcar Named Desire.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Discuss the significance of imagery and symbolism in developing setting, character and theme in the opening scene of A Streetcar Named Desire. Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire is a play in which imagery and symbolism are fundamental for its development and interpretation, since these elements affect, setting, character and theme in different ways. By imagery is meant the use of phrases, actions or elements in literature which suggest feelings and ideas, that is the use of concrete descriptions which appeal to the senses so that it can be seen or sensed what is being written about. By symbolism is meant a particular kind of sign where the object represented, represents not itself but other objects or qualities. So it is understood that imagery covers more than symbolism, in other words, symbolism is found many times inside imagery, it may be said that it depends on it. Between many others, the symbols and imagery involved in A Streetcar Named Desire, the most important are the names of the characters, colours, music, clothes, actions, staging and other symbols. All these elements refer to setting, characters and theme. How does imagery and symbolism develop in the setting? Setting means the place, atmosphere and time where the play takes place, and inside they fit the music, staging and time from the elements mentioned before. ...read more.

Middle

Finally, the name of the streetcar, 'Desire', which is directly one of the most important themes of the play. Imagery and symbolism affect the characters since the name of the character, their clothes and actions, which are related with certain colours, are important in the development of these characters. Starting with their names, both Stella and Blanche DuBois suggest symbols since Stella means star, giving her the quality of delicacy and softness, a softness which may be later negative for her. Blanche means white, suggesting purity, ironically, since Blanche is not pure, not in a sexual way, since she has been married and because of her desire towards men; nor in a mental one, since she lies too much. About clothes, Blanche's white dress again suggests purity, but also suggests her social class, which is supposed to be higher than Stella's and Stanley's who are more humble. Stanley uses denim jeans and bowling jacket which clearly represents working class. The actions involved in the development of imagery and symbolism in the characters are, for example, Blanche's sitting, her whisky drinking, her jumping, etc, actions which show her nervous personality of a stressed woman. "Blanche sits in a chair very stiffly with her shoulders slightly hunched and her legs pressed together...as if she were quite cold..." ...read more.

Conclusion

Another important theme is the role of women in society. Women were seen as inferior objects, with very less rights or freedom to do what they wanted, men were always giving orders or shouting at them all the time and they didn't have the chance to work. This is clearly shown in Stella and Stanley's relationship and living situation. An example of this is when Stella and Blanche were trying to have a nice time by hearing music and laughing, fact which later ended up in Stanley hitting his wife (third scene). And as a last theme is the one of appearance and realities, and Blanche Is the best example for this. She lives her life according to her physical appearance and not only in the physical sense, but also in the sense of fantasies. She lives her whole life as a fantasy, without wanting to accept her reality. It is important to state then, that Tennessee Williams succeeds very well in playing with certain symbols in order to create symbolism and imagery in his play A Streetcar Named Desire. These may sometimes be complex and at other times simple symbols, making the play more entertaining, making the audience more interested and think about society, people in it and problems affecting its right way of functioning. Javiera Uribe III�B 1375 words ...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 Steercar Named Desire - Blanche's Psychological Breakdown.

    From the beginning Blanche insists "I cannot stand a naked light bulb, any more than I can a rude remark" (Corrigan 54). She then puts an artificial lantern on the light bulb. Light represents truth, and Blanche wants to cloak the truth by covering it up.

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

    This shows that they have so much to talk about. * Blanche changes into a seductive outfit. This is a 'dark red satin wrapper.' Blanche and Mitch have so much in common. Their love for poetry, their reliance on family, they have both experienced the death of close ones, their

  1. Language in 'A Streetcar Named Desire'.

    specific language choices, as she uses her dialogue to try and better herself. A characteristic of Blanche's language would be her southern dialect; she has a traditional accent, which is more rounded than the northern states, with elongated vowel sounds.

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

    From this point on in the play, Blanche's lies and illusions spiral out of control, and even she cannot keep control of what she has said: "Was this before or after the telegram came / What telegram? No! No" when Stanley is interrogating her about Shep Huntleigh's contact with her.

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

    * His father - Cornelius Coffin Williams, was an alcoholic and is said to have been very abusive towards his son. He was often violent towards most of his family. There are such clear links between Cornelius and Stanley - the drinking, the violence etc - there it is hard to imagine that Stanley was based on anyone else.

  2. 'Cat on A Hot Tin Roof' and 'A Streetcar Named Desire' are plays in ...

    Additionally, her appetite for darkness is suggestive of her secrecy and isolation. This is symbolised by the paper lantern, with which she disguises the naked light bulb and by this act, she disguises her environment of the setting, which is a reflection of her inner condition.

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

    We learn from Blanche later, much to the annoyance of Stanley, that the plantation has finally been lost to the bank. This place had been Blanches centre and home and due to the irresponsibility of her ancestors, she had been forced to watch it die.

  2. Streetcar named Desire: dramatic tension

    Mitch in particular irritates Stanley, because of his sensitivity and his concerned attitude towards his mother, Stanley does not understand this unmanly behaviour, and so it annoys him. Because Stanley is drunk little things like this will infuriate him twice as much as normal, and so he continuously confronts Mitch,

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