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

How does Blanche DuBois represent the faded grandeur of the American past?

Extracts from this document...


How does Blanche DuBois represent the faded grandeur of the American past? The South, old and new, is an important theme of the play. Blanche and her sister come from a dying world. The life and pretensions of their world are becoming a thing of memory: to drive home the point, the family mansion is called "Belle Reve," or Beautiful Dream. The old life may have been something beautiful, but it is gone forever. The two sisters, symbolically, are the last living members of their family. Stella will mingle her blood with a man of blue-collar stock, and Blanche will enter the world of madness. Stanley represents the new order of the South: chivalry is dead, replaced by a "rat race," to which Stanley makes several proud illusions. Blanche expects a certain level of behaviour from men; she wants them to be gentle, good-tempered and friendly. She also expects a certain prudery. ...read more.


Here we can see the change which happened in the South - people weren't able to run their farms anymore. So the loss of Belle Reve is a symbol of the economic change in the South. As the airy and aristocratic Blanche, dressed in white, appears, you can immediately feel that she is in sharp contrast with her new surroundings, New Orleans, which is a noisy and dirty city. The extensive stage directions and her conversations with neighbours show this - firstly, Williams describes her as, "[looking as if she were arriving at a summer tea or cocktail party in the garden district.]" More than anything else, this immediately introduces Blanche's character as a representative of the Old South, as much as Stanley's introduction epitomizes him as the herald of the New. Everything that happens to these characters throughout the play is symbolic of this. ...read more.


We are reminded of her description to Stanley of how the family wealth dwindled - "... piece by piece, our improvident grandfathers and father and uncles and brothers exchanged the land for their epic fornications." Again we have the idea of desire leading to death; the death of Belle Reve, the ultimate image of the Old South in the play. "Why, the Grim Reaper had put up his tent on our doorstep! ... Stella. Belle Reve was his headquarters!" However much she increasingly tries to hide from the truth with her illusions, Blanche is painfully aware that what she cherishes most of all is dying, and she is powerless to stop it. The rape of Blanche and the subsequent death of her sanity, combined with the birth of Stanley's child, firmly establishes the victory of the New South over the Old. ...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.

    Blanche cannot withstand his attacks. Before her, Stanley's household was exactly how he wanted it to be. When Blanche came around and drank his liquor, bathed in his bathtub, and posed a threat to his marriage, he acted like a primitive animal that he was, going by the principle of "the survival of the fittest".

  2. How far do the Kowalskis and the DuBois different notions lead to a tragic ...

    The opening scene of the Poker night immediately captures our attention with significant visual elements such as light and bold primary colours showing the harsh masculinity of the men and how 'they are at the peak of their manhood'. His dominating colours are contrasted with Blanche's whites and pastels that create her 'delicate beauty'.

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