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A Streetcar Named Desire And The Awakening

1740 words - 7 pages

Authors Kate Chopin and Tennessee Williams were both writers who both relied on symbolism within their novels. The purpose of symbolism within the literary world is to represent or depict something by using analogies, objects, or even animals in order to give a deeper or different meaning of what is trying to be described. As described in Literary Devices, symbolism gives writers the opportunity to evoke interests in their readers in order to ‘draw’ them into the story.
Long ago women were seen as demure, pure beings who took care of the home/family and relied heavily on men being the ‘bread-winner’ and sole provider of the family. Men were primarily the dominant, controlling figures; whereas, women were seen and rarely heard. Unlike today, women didn’t flaunt their bodies or carried on in a way that brought shame to their name or family. Back then, it was very seldom that women held their own jobs nor were they were financially dependent. In The Awakening and A Streetcar Named Desire we will compare and contrast how the main, female characters in each novel differentiated from each other and how the authors uses symbolism in order to represent a deeper meaning.
In A Streetcar Named Desire, Blanche DuBois is introduced as a Southern belle who loses her fortune, including the family home, Belle Reve and is grieving from the suicide of her husband. She arrives from Laurel, Mississippi as a former high school English teacher to stay with her younger, submissive sister, Stella, and volatile, abusive brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski. For the use of symbolism within his play, Williams introduces symbols throughout. In the first scene, Blanche describes to her neighbor her desired journey to begin a new life: “They told me to take a streetcar named Desire, and then transfer to one called Cemeteries and ride six blocks and get off at – Elysian Fields” (Williams 117). With Blanche, she is tormented by her past which makes her want to transform into a better person, but by trying to become someone she is not and not being able to conquer her demons, it contributed to her downfall.
Filled with symbolisms, truths, and metaphors, Williams uses bathing, desire, and other occurrences throughout his play. He depicts Blanche as constantly taking baths in hopes of cleansing her past sins and since she is never successful in this, she takes baths over and over again. Unlike Blanche and her bathing, Stanley takes to showering after he beats Stella, but once he cleanses himself by showering, he is remorseful. In regards to the truth, Stanley is all about the truth and is constantly seeking truths; while Stella tries to hide it and Blanche manipulates it or covers it up. Blanche and Stella have a connection between each other as sisters and coming from the same wealthy background. With this being said, even though Stella is portrayed as this quiet, submissive wife of Stanley’s, she has the same passion for wild sex (Ehrenhaft 72). This fact can be drawn from when...

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