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A streetcar named desire(TM)

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Introduction

'A streetcar named desire' The play has been read as a symbolic exploration of the conflict between North and South and between the lost past and the harsh present. To what extent do you agree with the appropriateness of such a reading, through an exploration of the conflict between Blanche and Stanley. 'The Glass Menagerie' will be in many ways a familiar type of play to those who have read Tennessee Williams' other plays. This play will be used in conjunction with his other works and other writer's works in order to prove or disprove as it may turn out, the opinion that the play "A Streetcar Named Desire" is a symbolic representation of the conflicting North and south divide. The symbolism used in this and many other plays will be directly linked to arguably the two most significant characters in the play, Blanche and Stanley, who both embody the opposing divisions of South and North, past and present and portray the clashing values that evoke the fury of new America and accentuate the misdemeanours of the harsh society that Tennessee Williams lived in. Williams uses these two characters to centralise the perception that the antiquity of the past is disregarded and overwhelmed by the callous, unforgiving present. ...read more.

Middle

tune that runs over and over in her mind as it is the same polka music which she heard the day her husband died. This represents her anguish and guilt, and her inability to let go of the past so she may look to the future, another reason why she cannot adapt to life in New American society. Other symbols used to portray Blanche include her obsession towards bathing, which is used to show her desire to cleanse herself of the past and is a ritual she has to help her start afresh, away from her deceits. Alcohol represents her weaknesses and downfall, she drinks it as a means of escape from the harsh realities of life and pass more easily into her dream world, not dissimilar to the actions of Amanda Wingfield in 'the glass menagerie' as they both incessantly endeavour to retreat to a world away from truth and fact. Stanley is a character depicted in complete contrast to that of Blanche. Unlike Blanche, Stanley, a 'Polack' represents the new and in many ways carefree north and along with the 'Negro woman' he portrays multicultural and ethnically diverse New America. Williams does not hide Stanley and Blanches' differences, highlighting them regularly during the play. ...read more.

Conclusion

the theme of death as he takes Blanche out of normal society to essentially keep her locked up, representing the harsh, yet necessary values of New America. Therefore it is likely that Williams wants to portray powerfully to the reader the lack of remorse shown by New Orleans and New America, even those at the epitome of its social structure, such as the doctor. Tennessee Williams portrays, through the struggles of Blanche and the old genteel values of the South that she represents; the clashing values and ethics she comes up against in the form of Stanley and the 'New America' he represents- that society is ever changing. Moreover an individual attempting to mould themselves into a culture unsuccessfully due to their inability to adapt will elicit the fury of those from New American society. Being a descendant of the Southern lifestyle for the early part of his life, Williams is aware of the conflict between the ageing values of the South and the widely accepted, yet almost 'callous' values of the North. The rape of Blanche is not only Williams' way of confirming to the reader of Stanley's victory over her, but it also represents his view of the ruthless eradication of Old America and everything it stood for by the triumphant New America. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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