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A Streetcar Named Desire Essay

867 words - 4 pages

In the play “A Streetcar Named Desire,” author Tennessee Williams uses his three main characters Stanley, Stella and Blanche to illustrate the theme of sexual hedonism in a world where each struggles for survival and desires to belong. Stanley Kowalski and his wife Stella live in a two room apartment on Stanley’s blue collar salary. They are visited by Stella’s sister Blanche Dubois who has just lost the family plantation, Belle Reve. The three exist in the ‘jungle’ society of New Orleans where each is a victim of animal desires, social pressures and use sex to try and gain control of the world around them.
Stanley is the protagonist who is trying to exist in the wild and as an untamed ...view middle of the document...

Stanley rapes Blanche because it’s the only way he can dominate her. Like in the wild, sex and violence are intimately connected.
Stella, being the middle ground between Blanche and Stanley, ultimately uses sex and desire to maintain power and survive in her ‘jungle-like’ atmosphere. In the opening scene, after catching the meat that was thrown at her from her mate, she “laughs breathlessly” (14) as if aroused by the thrill of the kill. In scene four, Stella tells Blanche about her wedding night, “He snatched off one of my slippers and rushed about the place smashing the light bulbs with it…I was sort-of thrilled by it” (64) implying that her husband’s aggression is more of a turn-on than something she’s afraid of. “I’m not in anything that I have a desire to get out of” (65). In an ultimate act of survival, Stella chooses to believe that her husband didn’t rape her sister. Her loyalty and desires for Stanley are an expression of her survival instinct rather than choosing morality or logic. “I couldn’t believe her story and go on living with Stanley” (133). Survival is more important than her allegiance to her sister. By consciously choosing to side with Stanley, Stella avoids the reality of the rape to survive.
Blanche Dubois is a woman who has lost the family plantation, the anchor of her family’s socio economic past and uses sex to try to gain some power and control...

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