Essay On Stagnant Lives In Streetcar Named Desire And Glass Menagerie

1222 words - 5 pages

Stagnant Lives in Streetcar Named Desire and Glass Menagerie

    The Stagnant Lives of Blanche DuBois and Amanda Wingfield    "All of Williams' significant characters are pathetic victims--of time, of their own passions, of immutable circumstance" (Gantz 110). This assessment of Tennessee Williams' plays proves true when one looks closely at the characters of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire and Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie. Their lives run closely parallel to one another in their respective dramas. They reject their present lives, yet their methods of escape are dissimilar. Both women have lost someone they cared for, and so seek to hold, and unintentionally suffocate, those they have left.

A major problem that both Blanche and Amanda face is their misconception of reality and the "New South." "The predominant theme of these plays is Southern womanhood helpless in the grip of the new world, while its old world of social position and financial security is a paradise lost (Gassner 78). They are victims of a society that taught them that virtue, attractiveness, and gentility all led to happiness. When tragedy strikes, Blanche and Amanda are unable to adjust to modem society and eventually withdraw into the securities of the past. "For Blanche and Amanda, the South forms an image of youth, love, purity and all of the ideals that have crumbled along with mansions and family fortunes" (Tischier 319).

Tragedy after tragedy has struck the character of Blanche DuBois of Streetcar until nothing is left except her tenuous grasp on sanity. Her young homosexual husband, Allan, kills himself, leaving her racked with guilt with which she cannot deal. It s as if the "Grim Reaper set up his tent," taking the lives of several other of Blanche's relatives as well (Williams 27). Also, Belle Reve, "the beautiful dream of a life of safety and gracious gentility," slips from her grasp, leaving her bereft of even a home (Gantz 104). This loss and the subsequent loss of her teaching position cause her to seek out her married sister, Stella.

When she arrives at Elysian Fields, she quickly realizes that her sister's home is not the haven she imagined it to be, but an entire different world that is totally unfamiliar to her. This realization, combined with the loss of Allan, causes her to cling desperately to her sister. She even goes so far as attempting to persuade Stella away from her husband, a plan that backfires, leaving Blanche more alone than ever. "The suffering and erosion of the past leave her with an incapacity for the present (Gilman 148).

Like Blanche's Belle Reve, the lost home of Amanda's youth, Blue Mountain, is forever on her mind, with its fairy-tale existence of governor's balls and gentlemen callers. "She floats in a mist of old recollections of gentle grace and decorum" (Clurman) Also similar to Blanche, Amanda has lost her husband. However, Amanda's spouse does not die; he deserts her and her two...

Find Another Essay On Essay on Stagnant Lives in Streetcar Named Desire and Glass Menagerie

Tennessee Williams' Characters in "The Glass Menagerie" and "A Streetcar Named Desire"

1371 words - 5 pages In a number of Tennessee Williams' plays, the characters seem to have similar traits and lifestyles. In his works, he shows the erosion of human feelings and relationships. His heroes often suffer from broken families; consequently, they do not find their place in society. They tend to be lonely and afraid of their surroundings. In The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire, a common basis can be found between many characters. Although the

Comparing Tennessee William’s Life and Streetcar Named Desire and Glass Menagerie

1578 words - 6 pages Parallels in William’s Life and A Streetcar Named Desire and Glass Menagerie              Tennessee Williams is one of the greatest American playwrights. He was constantly shocking audiences with themes such as homosexuality, drug addictions, and rape. He broke free from taboos on such subjects, paving the way for future playwrights. He also was a very good writer. One of the things he is famous for is his dialogue, which is very poetic

Streetcar Named Desire essay

736 words - 3 pages A Streetcar Named Desire, written by Tennessee Williams, is a social realism play that takes place during the 1940’s in New Orleans. Williams uses this play to directly question inherent ideologies of human nature. He uses plot, narrative techniques, motifs, and contrasting values to directly challenge the reader’s perspective. Illusion’s purpose is questioned in this fact-based world we call reality. Blanche, Stella’s sister, is used to

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

Streetcar Named Desire, Masculinity - Essay

1646 words - 7 pages tragedy acted out in Streetcar is ‘the futility of attempting to flee the apes.’ In such a world, all of the positive values associated with the archetypal symbolism of water are rendered impotent, as the “brutally fittest rule.” After Blanche has been taken to the asylum, Steve’s metaphoric words suggest that the game of life as played in the new America is one whose rules are laid down by – and serve to benefit – brutal men rather than vulnerable

Essay on Stella in "Streetcar Named Desire", by Tenessee Williams: Description of how she is torn between Blanche and Stanley

955 words - 4 pages , but we are told in scene one that she is about twenty-five and is gentle. Evidence in the book suggests that she was once very similar to Blanche, but chose to leave that world in order to escape the fate of her ancestors, who have all had "epic fornications". She abandoned her family leaving Blanche to deal with all the deaths of the family.Blanche symbolizes a wealthy woman trapped in a world of illusion and Stanley is on the other end of the

Dramatic tension in a "A Streetcar Named Desire" - Essay

1661 words - 7 pages Many of the following Streetcar Named Desire resources are tweaked from tried and true materials and ideas mainly from Teachit and Julie Blake’s Full English. The idea is to give students five ‘ways in’ – imaginative, cognitive, emotional, visual, tactile – to that elusive topic dramatic tension, by identifying and tracking how and what playwrights manipulate within a scene and across the play as a whole. FOR STARTERS: A TENSE ROLE-PLAY

Symbolism, Imagery and Allegory in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Streetcar Named Desire

2326 words - 9 pages Symbolism, Imagery and Allegory in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Streetcar Named Desire   Tennessee Williams said, in the foreword to Camino Real, "a symbol in a play has only one legitimate purpose, which is to say a thing more directly and simply and beautifully than it could be said in words." Symbolism is used, along with imagery and allegory to that effect in both Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Streetcar Named Desire. Both plays

A Streetcar Named Desire

1279 words - 6 pages main characters in the play, she is loquacious and a fragile woman around the age of thirty. She puts on as a woman who has never known indignity. Blanche's misfortune grows along with her instability. Isaac, Dan. "CRITICAL READINGS: No Past To Think In: Who Wins In A Streetcar Named Desire?."Critical Insights A streetcar Named Desire(2010): 154-189. Literary Reference Center. Web. 4 Dec. 2013. Tennessee Williams used part of himself

A Streetcar Named Desire

869 words - 3 pages A Streetcar Named Desire is widely considered as one of those classic movies that marked one period of time. This movie presents a sharp critique of the way the institutions and attitudes of postwar America placed restrictions on women's lives. Williams uses Blanche's and Stella's dependence on men to expose and critique the treatment of women during the transition from the old to the new South. The fact that the movie was made in black and

Fantasy and Illusion in A Streetcar Named Desire

1381 words - 6 pages direction of reality of life. In Tennessee William’s play, A Streetcar Named Desire, through the study of character and tropology, fantasy and illusion allow one to make life appear as it should be rather than as it is. Blanche is a delusional character who creates life from her imagination to help her pass through the hardness of life. Blanche admits that living in fantasy is much better than living in reality. When she was talking to

Similar Essays

Essay On Downfall And Denial In Streetcar Named Desire And Glass Menagerie

1378 words - 6 pages in shambles at the ends of the plays.          Blanche Dubois and Amanda Wingfield live parallel lives in the plays A Streetcar Named Desire and The Glass Menagerie.   Both women live sad lives because of the many trying times they have endured.  It has been said that they are the same because they both show the attempts of a woman to keep a grasp on her elegant past (Stine 456).  Both women are unsuccessful.  Blanche ends up being taken to a

Essay On Portrayal Of Women In The Glass Menagerie And A Streetcar Named Desire

1521 words - 6 pages Portrayal of Women in The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire       The plays of Tennessee Williams are often controversial because of his preoccupation with sex and violence. Basic female character types often reappear throughout each of his plays. The women featured in the plays, The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire all suffer from physical or emotional mutilation and seek fulfillment from a man

Essay Comparing Glass Menagerie And Streetcar Named Desire

1088 words - 4 pages that anyone can relate to, also contained characters and situations from his life. In both plays, the characters are drawn from his life. This essay will discuss is the similarities between The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire, which have similar characters and themes throughout them.  A Streetcar Named Desire takes place in New Orleans. The characters are Blanche Dubois, Stanley Kowalski, Stella Kowalski (Blanche’s sister

The Glass Menagerie And A Streetcar Named Desire

754 words - 3 pages manner which Tom seems to have experienced himself, having had to listen to his father's comments.Thus as seen from both the plays, The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire are both a reflection of the tragic events that happened in his own life. Both the plays thus are in a way an effort on his part to show that life doesn't always have happy endings as he had to learn it the hard way.