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Opposing Values In Streetcar Named Desire

1702 words - 7 pages

Choose a play in which the dramatist explores conflict between opposing ideas or values. Show how the dramatist makes you aware of the conflict and discuss the extent to which you find the solution of the problem satisfying.

Ci Xu

“A Streetcar Named Desire” is an emotional play written by Tennessee Williams. The story sets in the late 1940s after the WWII in the modern metropolis of New Orleans where Blanche, the last idealistic remnant of the once rich southern state plantation, Belle Reve, now come to this multicultural neighbourhood to see her sister, Stella, who have abandoned the glamour of Belle Reve to be with the man she loved, Stanley. Soon it is apparent Blanche and ...view middle of the document...

“I don’t want realism, I want magic” – Scene 9

A very symbolic feature associated with Blanche is light – when Blanche first moved in to Stella’s apartments, she buys a lantern to cover up the light. She likes glamour and attention, just like a moth is attracted to a light bulb, but this attraction is fatal – light is the living fuel of moths, and attention is the unstable fuel of Blanche. In the very end when Blanche has been tormented so much by Stanley, instead of choosing to face the reality, she once again hides in her own imaginary world, becoming totally delusional.

Stanley on the other hand, is straight forward and realistic, sometimes too straight to take into consideration of anybody else, which is in complete contrast with the hiding Blanche. Stella, being Blanche’s sister, knows her problems with self confidence, and when Blanche is about to come out of the bath before she first meets Stanley, Stella heavily reminded Stanley to compliment on Blanche’s dress and looks. Stanley is dominant, the alpha male of not just to Stella, who is simply attracted to Stanley because of his brutal and sexual, but to his circle of friends as well. Stanley is the lion that pounces without hesitation, without thinking of consequences, because he likes to be the one calling the shots, and when something displeases him, he stamps his foot down. Stanley is the first to suspect Blanche to be lying, and in response of Blanche’s continuing effort to discriminate him, Stanley dug the dirt on Blanche and eventually revealed her past and destroyed her, to the point of even raping Blanche, simply because he sees her as a nuisance.

“I’m the King around here” – Scene 8

One turning of point that portrays Stanley particularly well is the poker night, where partially under the influence of alcohol; Stanley is finally fed up and even hit Stella, when she’s pregnant. To Blanche, who is accustomed to gentlemen of curtsey and respect to women in the prosperous southern plantations, comes as a great shock, and ever since then have tried to get Stella away from Stanley, who subsequently reacted to Blanche’s behaviour and decided to make Blanche’s living hell. What Blanche doesn’t realise is this isn’t the first time Stanley hit Stella, Stanley’s mates’ almost calm reaction to this appalling scene shows just how they have accustomed to Stanley’s violent personality. Despite all of Blanche’s warnings, Stella still remains by Stanley’s side, because this utter brute bestiality is exactly what’s attracting Stella to Stanley, who perhaps is fed up with the old, calm ways of America.

The distinct difference between Blanche and Stanley is their different backgrounds, and it is their contrasting beliefs they hold that have determined their course of actions. Blanche, having lived half her life in the most prosperous parts of America, where money is plentiful enough for the wealthy to enjoy life of glamour and curtsey, simply cannot believe in the new...

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