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

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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.

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