A Streetcar Named Desire Analysis
A Streetcar Named Desire A Streetcar Named Desire is one of the most significant plays of the twentieth century. This classic play tells the story of Blanche DuBois, a woman who moves in with her sister after she loses her plantation, and depicts her tumultuous journey into lunacy. As the viewer follows Blanche on her journey two major themes are significantly explored; dependence on men and escapism. Throughout the course of the play these themes move the plot forward and drive Blanche’s story. In the course of A Streetcar Named Desire Blanche illustrates various forms of dependence on men.
The viewer first observes Blanche exhibit this theme after it is discovered that her husband killed himself. The loss motivates Blanche to move into the Hotel Tarantula where she invites various men into her room to spend the night. Blanche believes that having a man immediately builds her sense of self worth and brings her happiness. A quote that perfectly illustrates Blanche’s dependence on men take place near the end of the play on page 142 when Blanche states to the people transporting her to the asylum “Whoever you are-I have always depended on the kindness of strangers”.
This quote is an example of how much Blanche relies on other people, in particularly men, to help move her life forward. The dependency of women on men was prominent at the time the play was published and many females relied on men for financial security and emotional fulfillment. The writing of this play was Tennessee Williams’ way of criticizing that ideal. Escapism is an additional theme that Williams heavily examines in A Streetcar Named Desire. This theme is explored throughout the course of the novel and we the viewer often experience fantasy conflicting with reality in the various quarrels between whimsy Blanche and pragmatic Stanley.
An example of this theme occurs when Blanche’s husband kills himself and she loses her families plantation. Blanche’s response to her struggles is to flee into drunkenness and a fantasy world of her own fabrication. Blanche also flees into escapism after Mitch tells her that he won’t marry her and she makes up an extravagant story about a past man who was going to pick her up and take her on a cruise. Blanche states to Stanley on page 126 that “This man is a gentlemen and he respects me. What he wants is my companionship. Having great wealth sometimes makes people lonely!
A cultivated woman, a woman of intelligence and breeding, can enrich a man’s life-immeasurably”! Blanche’s attempts to recreate herself fail in the face of a cruel reality she can’t escape. Tennessee Williams uses his play to examine the tension between fantasy and reality and the tragic results of escapism. In conclusion, A Streetcar Named Desire is a play heavy with the major issues of dependency on men and escapism. Tennessee Williams utilizes both these themes in his play to criticize the American values of the 1940’s. A Streetcar Named Desire is a call for change in a society that Williams viewed as desperately in need of transformation.