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A Street Car Named Desire The Kowalskis and Du Bois have different notions

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"The Kowalski's and Du Bois' have different notions" With close analysis of scene 3 examine to what extent you agree. Throughout the entirety of Williams' play it is painfully apparent that the Kowalski and Du Bois families are very different. The almost 'opposing' lifestyles of Stanley Kowalski and Blanche Du Bois are so incredibly dissimilar they are set to clash from scene one however it is arguably not until scene three that we see the true extent of their differences. It would also be unjust not to mention that the two, although opposing, can be very similar in the play, yet the rationale behind their similar actions can be seen as very different indeed. Both Blanche and Stanley strive for control and need to be loved but their class divide and contrasting values can make this would be similarity seem poles apart. The most obvious way that Blanche and Stanley can been seen as different is in that way that they conduct themselves. Stanley is very brash and blunt refusing to change the way that he wants to act to suit a situation. Blanche on the other hand is far more 'old fashioned', she presents herself in a very respectful and ladylike way and therefore expects to be treated with courtesy. These traits are first clearly revealed in scene three as Blanche, after first receiving welcomed flattery from Stella asking "How do I look?", enters the room in which Staley is playing poker among friends. ...read more.


The two were brought up in opposing class systems; Blanche brought up as 'upper-class' with a view of herself as one with elite social status, and Stanley as a proud ambitious member of the working class. In 1947 when 'A Street Car Named Desire' was first performed, the 'Old South' was undergoing reform. A new breed of post war, second generation, immigrant, American workers transformed the working class at the time into a highly industrious workforce; upon which the New South and 'New America' relied. The wealthy landowners of the 'Old South' were becoming obsolete as Americas economy began to shift, relying more and more on new industry and therefore the working class. At such a volatile time the success of one of the classes would be the downfall of the other. Tennessee Williams, through the characters of Blanche and Stanley, is telling the story of this shift of power. The characters of the two classes each represent values that are antagonistic to each other's chances of survival in modern America. Therefore, Stanley and Blanche striving for control is symbolic of the class survival struggle at the time. Stella's loyalty to Stanley also serves as a symbol of Stanley's societal success. Blanche fails to convince Stella to leave Stanley as she believes Stella was born for better society and values, saying "You can't have forgotten that much of our bringing up, Stella, that you just suppose that any part of a gentleman's in his nature! ...read more.


However, and ultimately, the motivation behind their actions, notions and philosophy on life is so different that the two, by the end of the play at least, are without doubt very far from alike. In addition I believe that Stanley and Blanche's perspective on life could be proved as different due to success. Of course this is not success in social status or wealth but success defined as fulfilling one's own goals. Both characters strive for control and affection however only Stanley really fulfils this goal. Stanley through his primitive, hot blooded and masculine nature demands control over those around him and has untiring love from his wife, Stella. Blanche on the other hand does not have either of these things; Blanche failed to undermine Stanley and gain Stella's respect, she also failed in controlling Mitch and the other men with her false femininity and flirtation. As far as love and affection for Blanche is concerned, this had been Blanche's principal focus since the suicide of her lover after she caught him cheating on her with another man. Ironically this focus ultimately led to her downfall and her living in a world devoid of reality as she prostituted herself in a feeble attempt to grasp men's affection. The success of the Kowalski's and failure of Blanche is strong evidence of the differences in notions that drive the Characters. Therefore I agree with the statement almost entirely as that the Kowalski's and Du Bois have very different primary notions that motivate them in throughout the play. ...read more.

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Response to the question

This essay responds well to the text, looking at differences in Williams use of speech and appearances on stage. There is a strong knowledge of the text shown here, with a breadth of ideas being discussed. I would've liked there ...

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Response to the question

This essay responds well to the text, looking at differences in Williams use of speech and appearances on stage. There is a strong knowledge of the text shown here, with a breadth of ideas being discussed. I would've liked there to have been more discussion of why Williams chooses to have Stanley and Blanche have different notions. This would've allowed an exploration of why this scene is significant to the play as a whole, which is a skill examiners are looking for when setting questions on particular extracts. If I were answering this question, I would've focused a bit more on the way Stanley becomes the driver of Blanche's tragic downfall due to their conflicting personalities.

Level of analysis

The analysis here is sound. There are numerous quotes, but I don't feel that language is every analysed closely. For example the essay comments that "Although the two both seek control, as explained, they go about it in very different ways". To make this argument more sophisticated, they should be contrasting the language used to seek control, and why Williams uses this technique. This is the sort of analysis that examiners are looking for, whereas this essay tends to retell the story at times. I liked the attempt to include some contextual arguments, looking at the Old South. However, this seems to have just been lumped in the essay and hasn't been included with any craft. At GCSE level it's not good enough to simply have a whole paragraph on context to reach the assessment objectives. You must weave contextual features into your points, looking at how contemporary audiences would respond to Williams techniques, thus extending from former analysis. To add to this, I don't feel there is enough emphasis on audience response here. I always make it clear to the examiner that I understanding the text is a play, and so focus on stage presence or an audience's reactions to Williams' techniques. By doing this, you show a fuller understanding of why Williams uses the medium of drama to convey his ideas. Language such as "Blanche's demise" is good here, and this could've been furthered by exploring tragedy and its forms.

Quality of writing

The essay has a good structure, having a clear introduction and conclusion. This shows that you are focused on the task, making for a cogent argument. I would advise that you don't use the first person in an English Literature essay, however. For example saying "I believe" in a conclusion shows the examiner that your view is more personal, rather than backed up by strong analysis and good evidence. This essay still gives the reason for their beliefs, but it just seems more sophisticated to state "it is clear from the evidence that" or use similar phrases. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are fine. This essay is fluently written, making for a convincing argument - I just feel more close analysis is required.

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Reviewed by groat 05/04/2012

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