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

Examine the ways in which Tennessee Williams creates tension in the first few scenes of 'A Streetcar Named Desire'

Extracts from this document...


Examine the ways in which Tennessee Williams creates tension in the first few scenes of 'A Streetcar Named Desire' Throughout the first five scenes of 'A Streetcar Named Desire' Williams uses various techniques to create tension. The first way is through the use of colour. 'The houses are mostly white frame, weathered grey' Not only is Williams's use of colour descriptive but also it is symbolic. 'She dressed in a white suit with...white gloves and hat' White reflects how Blanche views herself: Pure, innocent and almost angelic. This is symbolic as we later discover Blanche to be practically the opposite of these. Williams also describes Stanley and his pack through colour. 'The poker players...wear coloured shirts, solid blue, a purple, a red-and-white check, a alight green...' All these colours are bright and vibrant, symbolizing anger, violence and the strength the men hold over the women. Another way in which Williams creates tension is through sounds and noises. 'A cat screeches near the window. Blanche springs up' This is the most classic and prominent example of this technique. ...read more.


At the beginning of the play we establish Blanche likes to drink. 'She pours a half tumbler of whiskey and tosses it down' When discovering this we simply assume that Blanche is just trying to stay calm but we soon realise this is not entirely correct. 'She carefully replaces the bottle and washes out the tumbler at the sink' Blanche feels as though she has to lie about her drinking habits and continues to do so on various occasions through the play. Blanche's habits of concealing things and her blatant deceitfulness are just some of the aspects of her character that cause us to distrust her, effectively creating tension. Another character in 'A Streetcar Named Desire' whom we are cautious of is Stanley. He too has aspects of his character that make suspicious of him. 'He sizes women up at a glance, with sexual classifications' Stanley has no respect for women and this disrespect mixed with his short temper, is a bad cocktail. 'There is a sound of a blow. ...read more.


I want to kiss you!' Blanche's flirtatious nature creates tension as we are given the impression it will eventually cause her more harm than good. Stanley's short temper... 'With a shouted oath, he tosses the instrument out of the window' and Blanche's lust for men... 'You make my mouth water' are bound to clash, thus creating tension. Williams wants us to be on our guard and prepared for something drastic to happen between these two characters. There is an example of Williams doing this when Stanley over hears a private conversation with the sisters. 'There's even something-sub human [about him]...something ape-like' Blanche's insults threaten Stanley's patience. '[He] overhears their...conversation...[he] hesitates licking his lips' We know that this means Blanche has crossed the line and Stanley's tolerance with Blanche is none existent. From this point onwards we are just waiting for the incredible tension between Stanley and Blanche to reach the ultimate level. Williams uses many techniques to create tension in 'A Streetcar Named Desire' the most prominent being the clash between Stanley and Blanche. They are so immensely different from the reader's point of view we can so no means of reconciliation. The only thing visible is conflict and we all know conflict ends in war. Zo� Mortimer ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE A Streetcar 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 GCSE A Streetcar Named Desire essays

  1. The Analysis of Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

    He ran away and shot himself with a gun. The first time when we here it is in scene 1, when Stanley wants to find out about her husband by putting questions to her. Next, it appears when Blanche tells the story of Allen's death to Mitch and we learn that it ends only when she hears the sound of a gunshot in her head.

  2. Lighting, Music and other effects in 'A Streetcar named Desire'.

    These colours would give any sane person a headache and what's more, they are very obnoxious. As well as indicating the men's vivid personalities, the chosen shades set the scene in which Stanley is accustomed to be living in. It is his 'Norm'.

  1. Symbolism in A Streetcar Named Desire

    In my opinion, Blanche is really implying that Stanley is the typical, careless husband who has most probably slept with ('bangs') many young ladies ('up one old narrow street and down another'.) He has had many one-night-stands and, informally, could be called a 'player!'

  2. A Streetcar Named Desire

    After Blanche is sent to a mental institution, she has nothing left but her illusions. She retreats to a world of fantasy that provides comfort and protects her from the assaulting nature of a reality like Stanley's. Tennessee Williams' play, A Streetcar Named Desire explores how reality triumphs over fantasy.

  1. How does Tennessee Williams use of symbolism add to the dramatic impact at the ...

    However as the play progresses we are told in scene four that the streetcar is old and falling apart: "that rattle-trap streetcar that bangs around the corner," This suggests that her desire is also falling apart. Also in scene six when she is talking to Mitch, Blanche asks: "Is that

  2. Consider how Tennessee Williams attempts to engage the sympathy of the audience by the ...

    Inevitably, this will result in conflict. By the end of scene three, Blanche has gone against Stanley and he will retaliate and she is left searching for 'sanctuary'. Williams uses 'drums' as music to represent emotions. 'Drums' are also associated with war.

  1. A Streetcar named desire - Williams uses symbolism effectively not only to convey the ...

    " She, like her author. Insists that she doesn't want realism, but magic." ( Blanche's sudden hysterical outbursts are her way of desperately trying to hold on to her magic. In scene 11 the "Varsouviana" polka is " filtered into weird distortion" in Blanche's mind, while the harsh discords signal

  2. The Depiction of Patriarchy in "A Streetcar Named Desire" by Tennessee Williams

    This is an example of how he is oppressed by the patriarchy, as his ?friends? joke at his expense. He also treats Blanche in the same matter, up until he learns the truth about her in scene nine. In the play, Mitch is at the subject of criticism by more

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