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In A Street Car Named Desire Tennessee Williams uses music and sound to help symbolise certain themes

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Introduction

A Streetcar Named Desire- Music and Sound. In A Street Car Named Desire Tennessee Williams uses music and sound to help symbolise certain themes, help build on characters and create different types of atmosphere. He uses things like the 'blue piano' and the polka music to help do this. Tennessee Williams uses the 'blue piano' to symbolise the life in this play, it shows the general atmosphere of the play. At the end of the opening stage directions we are told this, it says, 'This 'blue piano' expresses the spirit of the life which goes on here.' This is saying as long as the 'blue piano' is playing life still goes on. But when life is disrupted the music from the 'blue piano' changes. This is shown when Blanche first arrives, 'The 'blue piano' gets louder.' This shows that Blanches arrival is going to affect the life of the characters in the play. This also helps to create tension. ...read more.

Middle

Although the music is still only faint it is much more dramatic and clear now it is been played in a minor key. There is still things about her past that we don't yet know. Then when she finishes telling Mitch about her husband the polka music increase and then finally fades away. This could show that although we know everything about her husband we don't know everything about her past. Then when Stanley confronts Blanche about her past and gives her a ticket back to Laurel The 'Varsouviana' can be heard. 'The 'Varsouviana' music steals in softly and continues.' The music represents Laurel and it is slowly stealing her back, it is taking her back to her past. Then later on in the evening the tune can be heard much more clearly, 'The rapid, feverish polka tune, the 'Varsouviana' is heard. The music is in her mind; she is drinking to escape it and the sense of disaster closing in on her, and she seems to whisper the word os the song.' ...read more.

Conclusion

The L and N tracks could symbolise the truth that Blanche has been hiding about herself. A good example of this in scene six when Blanche is telling Mitch about her young husband. The stage directions say, 'A locomotive is heard approaching outside. She clasps her hands to her hands to her ears and crouches over. The headlights of the locomotive glares into the room as it thunders past.' Blanche is hiding from the noise of the locomotive just like she is hiding from the truth and her past. This builds on the character of Blanche because it shows that she is hiding form the past and that she must be ashamed of her past and therefore this builds atmosphere because we want to know why she is hiding from her past. In conclusion Tennesse Williams uses the music and sound in the novel "A Streetcar Named Desire" very well as throughout the novel it delivers a sense of atmosphere and helps give us a better understanding of the characters. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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Response to the question

This essay engages well with the question, having a clear focus on the effect of Williams' choice of music. I liked how there was discussion of music building atmospheric tension, being symbolic and recurring to present this theme or how ...

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Response to the question

This essay engages well with the question, having a clear focus on the effect of Williams' choice of music. I liked how there was discussion of music building atmospheric tension, being symbolic and recurring to present this theme or how sounds show the fragile nature of Blanche. Having a broad appreciation of music, rather than focusing on it as a simple background technique, makes this a strong essay.

Level of analysis

The analysis in this essay is sound. I liked how there was a clear focus of Williams constructing and choosing the music for symbolic and atmospheric reasons. There is a clear knowledge of the play as they show the variety of situations where the polka music is used. Being able to show this understanding will gain credit, and adds to a convincing argument rather than feature spotting music without a clear argument. There was, however, a lack of exploration of the audience response. If I was doing this essay, I would be discussing the effect of the atmosphere built by the piano, or how the recurring music playing makes the audience fear what will happen. Such discussion would've propelled this essay into gaining higher marks.

Quality of writing

The essay has a clear introduction, forming a sharp argument. The essay can be colloquial at times, for example "he uses things like" or "uses the music and sound in the novel “A Streetcar Named Desire” very well". In my opinion, if this essay could replace these phrases with technical terms this would be a more convincing argument. This could be done fairly simply, for example saying "he uses recurring instruments such as". The structure of the points is good, but unfortunately it is tainted and disjointed due to the poor embedding of quotes. Quotes should flow with the sentence rather than having a line break and fragment the paragraph. Poor embedding skills simply taints the analysis which is evident here. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are fine.


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Reviewed by groat 05/03/2012

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