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A Streetcar Named Desire

Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire is one of the greatest American plays ever written. The story revolves around two sisters who used to live in the glory days of the South, when their Belle Reeve estate provided them with a genteel life that is no longer possible for either of them. One of the sisters, Stella, has accepted her misfortunes and is contentedly wed to the carnal working-class Stanley Kowalski. The other sister, Blanche DuBois, cannot face the acceptance of her faded past and the garish light of reality. Blanche comes to visit Stella and Stanley and is horrified by their dour environment. Blanch cannot accept that the past is gone to stay and she maintains an air of superiority over people like Stanley, who she tells Stella is like the streetcar named Desire when her sister says she doesn’t understand the physical charms of Stanley, “What you are talking about is brutal desire—just—Desire!—the name of that rattle-trap street-car that bangs through the Quarter, up one old narrow street and down the other…” (Williams 70).

Blanche and Stella were used to a genteel upbringing, one filled with manners, polite conversation, and little if any sign of brutal nature. Stanley, on the other hand, is a working-class, uneducated and unrefined man who is abrasive, coarse, and violent. His home is his castle and he has no hesitations about believing he owns what his wife owns and he believes Blanche is holding out profit made from the sell of Belle Reeve. In reality, Belle Reeve was lost because no money was available to pay the mortgage. Upon first arriving, Blanche explains to Stella that it is she who stayed behind and suffered while watching Belle Reeve be lost despite her most valiant efforts. As Stella says to Blanche, “The best I could do was make my own living, Blanche” (Williams 25). Stella has accepted her now humble surroundings and believes th


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A Streetcar Named Desire. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 21:55, July 01, 2022, from