A Streetcar Named Desire (Essay Sample)

Street car named desire

This play by a Southern playwright Tennessee William depicts post world wars and the Great Depression social problems in the United States. The plays also widely discussed the plight of immigrants and settlers. Even though the play is acted in the South, however, the author presents universal issues relevant to any society in the modern days. The two primary protagonists in the play are Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowalski. The characters are concomitantly have comparable and dissimilar traits. According to author, Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowalski fight to hide their dirty linen from the public in unique approaches as well as overcoming their major social challenges. The author also tries to present reality of people’s lives, a primary enduring concern throughout his writing career. Williams wrote the plays at his weakest points when he was about to die. Indeed he expressed whatever he believed needed to be said at that time. The play was shocking to the readers because of its straightforward presentation about the sexual matters.

In the play, Blanche Dubois comes to her sister’s residential palace in style, an apartment located in New Orleans, a place famously referred to Elysian Fields, deliberately to run away from her stinking, open but naked truth. Blanche Dubois and Stella Kowalski are few remaining offspring traced from Southern aristocracy alongside being old immigrants. Right on the commencement of the book, Blanche DuBois, the key protagonist, is perceived as a disguise woman. This is because she presided over her husband’s suicide. She also lost touch with all her family fortune and Belle Reve estate. Moreover, Blanche DuBois has a rich history of the sexual relationship. Though she always tries to cover up her addiction to alcohol, her reputation is filthily stinking in the society. Despite the blood connection to Stella, she portrays an incredibly weird personality of Stella (Kolin, 2000). Based on their past history account, the two sister represents obscure and graceful, dull and spotless personalities. Blanche decides to undertake the cleansing process of her character by fleeing away from her hometown to start a new life elsewhere. However, underneath all the filthy character, there is an insecure and disturbed individual. The play, proposes various approaches and actions to be undertaken for cleansing an individual. These cultural cleansing rituals are neither personal history, reputation nor reputation celebrations but for restoring engagements and public perceptions in the society.

The marriage issues of Blanche commenced when she got engaged to a young hidden homosexual, who took away his life upon the heated debate about his sexuality issues. Being a beautiful teacher, she was admired by her male staffs, but she had little interest to give in. Although she had a friendship, she was certainly feeling lonely in her hometown. She was cautious to get into a relationship with wrong partners because her previous account was stinking. In her vision, being engaged to Mitch is way of disowning her dark and stinky account and set her records right from other ill-motivated men (Gross, 2014). She believes in wearing a white dress as a wife-to-be to figuratively rinse her previous accounts with men. Men have exploited her sexuality rendering her status meaningless and a destitute lady. She deserves a fair treatment. Being a Southern lady, she desperately looks for a Southern partner to salvage her reputation. The play represent the chivalric man with a non-existing tycoon, Shep Hunt Leigh. Blanche extremely expects much from her attractiveness nature and beauty as a woman to reinstate her lost glory and self-esteem. She wonders why her every attempt at recovering herself in marriage alongside her dignity is falling. The author asserts that she will never cleanse herself from the men because she relies and bank her hopes on them. In other words, inevitable downfall rather than purging forward is contributed by unnecessary dependency and inability to see things realistically.

The most powerful motif of cleansing process is bathing. Blanche keeps on bathing through the play to remove her dirty past. She appreciates the medicinal value of hot water in calming her nerves. Metaphorically, bathing is perceived as a physical figurative representation of a character. Blanche is a dirty girl based on her sexual experiences with men. However, she subconsciously gets nervous on how to free herself from such odious history. She needs much time to erase and convince the society about her new character. Though Stella is seemed satisfied with the lost family estate, the pragmatic Stanley refuses to buy Blanche’s response and demands physical proves that Belle Reve was sacrificed. Stanley hope of owning the estate at some point and accuses Blanche of keeping the return of selling the family estate in her wardrobe. Blanche ought to cleanse her name and the guilt of losing such a big family property. The author states in chapter two and seven that love does not exist in the real world but only an imagination. This is narrated in the life of Blanche alongside her extreme belief about her future glory and peaceful relationship with Mitch. Blanche must change her behavior to recover her desired relationship with Mitch.

The character of Stella in the play symbolizes societal success. She is loyal and submissive to her sister Blanche. Blanche consistently tries to win Stella’s stand and quit Stanley’s presence simple because Stella was deserve better society and moral values than what she receives from Stanley. Meanwhile, Stanley retains her close to his breath through his overwhelming modest treatment, and love. These issues widen the relationship between Blanche and Stanley thus prompting an impossible compromise (Bedient, 2014). Moreover, Blanche and Stanley are depicted as two extreme opposites. Blanche represents the fantasy world while Stanley is a no-nonsense and strict guy. Blanche prefers shadow and magic rather than facing facts in bright light. Meanwhile, Stanley struggles to earn his joy in life and celebrates his achievements. Stanley expects everyone to lay their cards on the table without being idle chit-chat.

Finally, the story about the DuBois and Kowalski families in the play represents an evolving society of the South. Stanley who is the son of Polish immigrants descends from a changing society of new Southerners. Being an employee of the factory, Stanley is engaged in the industrialization process of the South, through contributing to the demise of the agrarian society where Blanche and her sister were raised. Lastly, the plays demonstrate how Stanley is gifted with the survival techniques in the New South. Meanwhile, Blanche survival skills are compromised in the new land. In conclusion, the play represents a central character though flawed by gain your admiration. The author first this through the use of characterization, creating a contrast leading to conflict thus bringing out the sense of sympathy and admiration. The conflict is also necessary for drawing the audience’s attention to Blanche weird character.


  • Bedient, C. (2014). There are lives that desire does not sustain: A streetcar named desire. Bloom’s Modern Critical Interpretations.
  • Gross, R. (Ed.). (2014). Tennessee Williams: a casebook. Routledge.
  • Kolin, P. C. (2000). Williams: A Streetcar Named Desire. Cambridge University Press.
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