Streetcar Named Desire Coursework

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Toby Jones        Streetcar Named Desire        21/10/07

        - Tennessee Williams

English coursework – Question 1

Consider the dramatic impact of the following passage: Blanche

Is in the bathroom and Stanley has just been told of the loss of Belle Reve. Consider how the events and dialogue are arranged by Williams and how they shape the audience’s perceptions of the characters.

Tennessee Williams uses dramatic impact in this section to show us more about his characters. He does this by putting his 3 main characters in a pressure situation; this allows their characteristics to unfold much more freely and in general we can learn more about their true selves, because with characters like Blanche it is hard to tell whether or not they are being genuine at times. Williams also establishes more background about Blanche and Stella. We notice how Stella Trusts Blanche even though in other sections of the play Blanche does not appear to be very trustworthy.

The playwright illustrates a growing confidence in Stella during this section, due to the arrival of her older sister. Stella. We get a sense of this when Stella tells Stanley to “Hush!” And also when she says “Not sold – lost, lost!”  The one syllable takes us back to the beginning of the play when Stella and Stanley had their monosyllabic exchange of meat, and reminds us of how Stanley pushed her around. With this in mind, this conversation is a contrast to Stella’s tone and attitude toward Stanley. The commanding tone of Stella’s words, show the audience that she is standing up to Stanley even though he is already agitated. Williams shows Stella Sticking up for Blanche and telling Stanley things like, “Rhinestone tiara,” and “Don’t be such an idiot!” It shows that Stella trusts Blanche however the audience has seen enough from Blanche already, with the drinking and lying, to not trust her and so when we see Stella back her up, then the audience also start to trust her more .All of this shows the boost in self-belief that Stella acquires when Blanche arrives.

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Williams uses stage directions a lot in this section, to try and portray animal imagery and also to foreshadow the rape that occurs later in the play. The playwright uses instructions like “stalks into the bedroom,”  and has Stella tell Stanley to “Be Still!” In an attempt to have the actor playing Stanley to behave more like a predator. The result of this would mean that Stanley appears more prevailing, especially in his own domain. This in turn would put greater emphasis on Blanche being able to talk to him the way she does at some points. The dramatist ...

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