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A Streetcar Named Desire Essay

1877 words - 8 pages

The drama A Streetcar Named Desire is one of Tennessee Williams most well-known plays. Blanche DuBois seeks refuge in her sister’s home after the loss of their ancestral home, the Belle Reve plantation. Her little sister, no more than a year younger than she, shares her home with her husband. During Blanche’s stay, she attempts to escape her past, start afresh, and attract a new suitor to settle down. However, she is tormented by her aggressive, unrelenting, and honest brother-in-law who eventually destroys all her hopes.
Between train tracks and a river off a street in New Orleans stands a two story building with washed-out white steps descending from both entrances. The Kowalski pair lives on the ground level, and Eunice and Steve occupy the upper flat. Although it’s located in a poor neighborhood, it holds a unique “raffish charm” (p. 1).
Blanche DuBois is a high school English teacher in her mid-twenties who looks a half-decade older. Insecure and conscious of her rapidly weathering beauty, she is sensitive to bright light. Erroneously, she believes that glamour, physical features, and appearances define youth and beauty. Blanche is always dolling herself, drenching herself with perfume, patting her face with powder, and inquiring on her looks.
From Laurel, Mississippi, Blanche arrives at the home of her sister, Mrs. Stella Kowalski. Initially, she is quite shocked by the conditions of the place, for her sister had glossed things over in her letters. Just moments after the sister reunion, Blanche makes known to her sister that she isn’t well and is in need of someone—that she doesn’t want to be alone. She also tells Stella about the loss of their family mansion, and how her employer suggested that she break away from work for a while. She stresses that she “stayed at Belle Reve and tried to hold it together” (p. 17), and that she’s suffered and struggled, “I stayed and fought for it, bled for it, almost died for it” (p. 18). Their tense conversation ends with Stella darting into the bathroom. While Stella is in the bathroom, Blanche meets her sister’s husband, Stanley Kowalski, a “Master Sergeant in the Engineers’ Corps” (p. 15). The man of Polish ancestry that Stella can’t stand being away from, stands about five eight, five nine, and is built like an ox; a man of pride and power with animalistic gestures and little sense of decency. They briefly discuss her occupation and her young, short-lived marriage that left her widowed.
The following evening, Stella enlightens Stanley on the loss of Belle Reve. Stella suggests that Blanche’s condition is unstable and that he should be nice to her and not question on the estate too soon. However, Stanley isn’t convinced and asserts that Blanche is being deceptive and demands supporting documents. Afraid that Blanche would hear them, Stella requests that Stanley be more courteous and not talk so loud, but given his personality, he cared less—he’s ready to confront her. Stanley informs his wife of the...

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