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Was Stanley Kowalski the reason for Blanche's downfall?

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Was Stanley Kowalski the reason for Blanche's downfall? Blanches Downfall could have been because of Stanley Kowalski but also it could have been another reason. Perhaps the most obvious one is her difficulty fitting in with life in New Orleans. From the beginning we see Blanche does not fit in with the people of her new community, nor her physical surroundings in her new home. This is shown at the start of scene one when it is easy to see that she disapproves of her sister living there. "This - can this be - her home?" This is perhaps Blanche being subtle as later when the place is described as having "raffish charm", Blanche does not even recognise that and she describes it as, "Only Poe! Only Edgar Allen Poe! - Could do it justice!" Blanche represents a deep-seated attachment to the past. She has lived her whole life in Laurel, a small southern town; her family had upper-class roots and taught Blanche about some of the finer things in life. Unfortunately she cannot cope with life outside Laurel. Her refusal to come out of the time warp makes her unrealistic and flighty. When Blanche appears, she is described in detail, not only her clothes but also the impression she gives of delicacy and vulnerability. ...read more.


They both seem to want to be close to Stella and at times it seems that Blanche is jealous of the relationship between Stella and Stanley. Blanche's music contrasts with the "blue piano". This clear distinction is one of the conflicts between Blanche and Stanley as well as Blanche and that area of New Orleans. The polka music is first heard at the end of scene one when Blanche tells of how she was once married, but the boy died. This music reoccurs when Blanche mentions this incident later on in the play. Stanley is also a direct contrast to Blanche with the clothes he wears. At the poker night in scene three, he is wearing a 'solid' coloured shirt, as are the other players. Stanley is in charge and dominates the group. Whereas Stanley seems to like bright colours around him, "the kitchen now suggests that a sort of lurid nocturnal brilliance, the raw colours of childhood's spectrum," Blanche is never associated with bright colours. Stanley represents contemporary social values driven by male dominance. He is a new urban immigrant. Blanche gives the impression that she thinks Stanley is in a lower class to her and is in places offensive towards his background, "In bed with your Pollack!" Nevertheless Stella seems to have adjusted to living with someone that is very different to her background, but is aware that her sister may not think the same as her, "I'm afraid you might not think they are lovely." ...read more.


As a result of this incident Stella leaves to go to Eunice's. From Stanley's point of view, Blanche has simultaneously robbed him of his wife and his best friend in the same night, so he sets about to ruin both these relationships. He doesn't like her personally and they have nothing in common, but also he sees her as something of a threat... She has disrupted his and Stella's relationship in the physical sense since all three have been living in the small apartment, but what's worse in Stanley's eyes is that Blanche is part of Stella's past, and Blanche's influence revives old prejudices and ways of thinking Stella that threaten Stanley's dominance. For example when Stanley eats the remains of a chop with his fingers, "Your face and your fingers are disgustingly greasy." Stanley takes real offence to this issue, because he does not like Stella telling him what to do and he definitely does not like the idea of the two sisters thinking that they are better than him. "When we first met, me and you, you thought I was common. How right you was, baby. I was common as dirt. You showed me the snapshot of the place with columns. I pulled you down off them columns and how you loved it." It does seem that each time Blanche and Stanley meet there is a massive dramatic tension, ending in Stanley domineering. He does not like her living in her idealistic world, as he relies strictly on facts. Stuart Thompson. ...read more.

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Here's what a star student thought of this essay

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Response to the question

I have reviewed this essay as it's a perfect example of an argument being built, but without any solid analysis whatsoever. To that end, this essay responds well to task and engages well with the question, showing a great knowledge ...

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Response to the question

I have reviewed this essay as it's a perfect example of an argument being built, but without any solid analysis whatsoever. To that end, this essay responds well to task and engages well with the question, showing a great knowledge of the play. However, there is no close textual analysis of language, form and structure. The audience isn't referred to once in this essay, and so it is missing one of the main assessment objectives. Essays at GCSE level must discuss how Williams' techniques and choices affect the audience response, and how the characters presence on stage forms interpretations and meanings.

Level of analysis

The analysis in this essay is basic. Too often does this essay build an argument by retelling the plot. For example saying "Stanley has become suspicious about Blanche" will gain no credit, and shows a lack of understanding that Stanley is a construction of Williams. I would note that if you write with the awareness that Williams has constructed the characters, you will naturally analyse his techniques and look at why he has chosen them. For example starting a paragraph "Williams has Stanley become suspicious of Blanche early on to show his presence in her downfall" would allow analysis of the techniques. It was a shame to see "through the course of the book" in this essay as it shows a gross misinterpretation of the piece as a book, rather than a play. This essay doesn't focus on the character's presence on stage, or how the audience respond to Stanley and Blanche's relationship. This is what examiners are looking for when setting questions about drama, and unfortunately this essay will be hindered by simply narrating the plot and not discussion the dramatic response of the audience.

Quality of writing

This essay has an appalling introduction. It is not good enough at GCSE to say "Blanches Downfall could have been because of Stanley Kowalski but also it could have been another reason" and sit on the fence. It's best to have a clear line of argument and support this argument throughout with evidence and analysis. The word perhaps is used too much here, and isn't the sort of critical language which shows a fluent and confident argument. Using phrases such as "it is clear from the evidence" or "it could be argued that, however the analysis shows" will make an argument more convincing. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are fine.

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Reviewed by groat 04/04/2012

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