A Streetcar Named Desire Themes
“The theme of A Streetcar Named Desire is driven on emotional fantasies and how they can cloud the picture of reality as we notice Blanche living in her fairytale world that ends up being a fugazy. It also is about the relationship of sex and death and how Blanche has had to deal with the death of her lover and she is scared of losing her beauty, so she tends to go after younger men.
The play was set in the exterior of a two-corner building on a street in New Orleans named Elysian Fields that runs between a river and train tracks. The building is located in a poverty-stricken area but unlike other cities in America, it has a raffish charm. Steve and Eunice live upstairs, and Stanley and Stella live downstairs. The music from the piano as told by Tennessee Williams is used to set the mood throughout the play. Eunice and a Negro woman are chilling on the steps while Stanley and his friend Mitch must have gone shopping since they brought a package of meat home that he launches up his wife Stella. Stanley and Mitch then leave to go meet their friend Steve at the bowling alley with Stella tagging along. Stella’s sister Blanche arrives all dressed up in a finely tailored suit with her suitcases in her hand feeling a bit out of place in such an impoverished area. Negro woman goes to the bowling alley to inform Stella of her sisters’ arrival. Eunice invites Blanche into the rooms and they begin to engage in small talk until Blanche becomes uninterested in her questions. Blanche starts to become nervous and proceeds to do some searching around the room. While doing so she discovers a bottle of whiskey which she decides to pour herself a shot and then returns to her original spot like nothing had happened. Later on, Stella comes home to excitingly embrace her sister Blanche, but that excitement begins to turn quickly into a critical note when Blanche decides to question Stella on why she is living in such poor conditions. Stella defends herself for a moment, but Blanche continues to steal the spotlight by talking up a storm.
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As seen two begins, it is the evening of the day following Blanches arrival. Blanche is taking a shower while Stanley makes his entrance in the door and Stella begins to tell him how she wants to have a night out with Blanche by taking her to the French Quarter. She notifies Stanley of Blanches situation of losing Belle Reve and asks him to be kind to her and not to mention anything about their baby that Stella is going to be giving birth too. Stanley takes a gauging interest at the sale price of Belle Reve to ensure that Blanche had not swindled Stella out of her share of the estate. Stanley proves his victimization referring to the Napoleonic Code that gives husbands ownership rights of the women’s property. Stanley gets frustrated by beginning to go through Blanches belongings. He notices that many clothing and items that he had found in Blanches luggage look expensive, and he wants to have them appraised. Blanche has finally gotten out of the shower and noticed Stanley. Stanley questions Blanche about her luxurious wardrobe. Blanche starts to turn the conversation toward a different topic as though if she is hiding something. Blanche tells Stella to fetch her a soda from the drugstore. Blanche then starts to take out papers from her trunk. Stanley is curious by snatching additions papers and wants to know what they are about. It turns out that Belle Reve really was lost meaning Blanche did not lie to them. She then describes the situation and convinced Stanley that no fraud has occurred. Blanche finds out that Stella is pregnant.
It is around 2:30a.m. and a poker game is going on between the men in the kitchen. The men clearly have had one too many drinks. Stanley has been dominating the table with his harsh words. Mitch begins to get flustered and is debating whether to go home or not to his sick mother. Him and Stanley get in a bit of an argument where words are exchanged. Mitch ends up removing himself from the table to go into the bathroom. Stella and Blanche arrive back home. She wants the men to stop playing poker but Stanley refuses to let the game end and then disrespects her. Stella proceeds to join Blanche. Mitch emerges from the bathroom and makes contact with Blanche indicating that he is attracted to her. The sisters keep on chatting together and catching up while the men are playing poker. Stanley is becoming frustrated from Mitches absence at the table since Mitch is talking about his mother with an intoxicated, and flirtatious Blanche. Blanche turns the radio back on to influence Mitch’s attention back onto her. Stanley ends up getting up to toss the radio out. Him and Stella get in fight. The other men had to pull him away and tried to sober him up. Before they left, they took all of their poker winnings. Stanley then tries to make up with Stella as he is yelling out her name and crying for the mistake he has made. Blanche is looking for Stella, but Mitch tells her not to worry because he says how Stanley and Stella are insane about each other. He ends up offering Blanche and cigarette; she thanks him for the offer.
It is now the morning after the poker game, Stella is lying in bed with her appearance contrasting heavily from Blanches. Blanche wants to know how her sister could put up with Stanley after what he did to her last night. Stella responds that is basically what life is with a significant other and that you learn to deal with it. Blanche is disgusted and refuse to pay attention to Stella’s words. So, she begins to go on a rant about how they both need to get out of her. Shep Huntleigh is his name, the man that Blanche is going to finesse money out of to help them. The cat finally comes out of the hat when Blanche tells her sister that she really is broke with no money. Blanche has no desire to leave them even seeing Stanley at his worse. She questions again how Stella could live with such an ungrateful and uncaring man like Stanley exemplifying that Blanche would never fall for such a man. Blanche does not hold back when starting to talk about Stanley’s problems behind his back. Stella is listening in coldly. Stanley makes his way into the apartment with Stella embracing him in a fierce manner. He gives Blanche a dirty look.
During an afternoon in August, Stella and Blanche are in the bedroom. Blanche begins cracking up about the lies that she had put into the letter that she wrote to Shep Huntleigh. Stella does not find it amusing. All of a sudden, Steve and Eunice are fighting. Steve begins to beat her. Stanley returns home from bowling informing Stella that Eunice ran to the bar instead of the police. Steve finds out and heads to the bar to find Eunice. Stanley and Blanche part take in a conversation with each other. He starts to ask Blanche questions if she knows a man by the name of Shaw. Blanche brushes it off saying that there are many Shaw’s in the world. He continues to talk about her hometown in Laurel and that Shaw has said that Blanche is a client at the hotel. She quickly denies the accusations. Now Blanche is on a mission to know what people are saying about her around town. Also, she confesses that she has been behaving badly. Relying on the Chinese Lanterns is what helps Blanche keep her glow. Blanche and Stella share a Coke with a shot mixed into it just like their younger days together. She is saying how she will be departing soon. Stanley throws Blanche out of the apartment, but Stella is then there to calm her down, but accidentally spills some soda on Blanches dress. Blanche is now trying to laugh everything off, but she suddenly becomes worried about her situation with Mitch because she has not been telling him the truth and she feels that in order to hold onto Mitch, she must maintain her act. Stella reminds Blanche that everything will work out just fine. Stella then joins her husband at the bar with Steve and Eunice running after her.
It is around 2a.m, Mitch and Blanch have just returned back to the apartment from their date. Blanche seem really upset that she could not live up to her high standards. Blanche let’s Mitch know that she will be leaving. Mitch asks her for a kiss and Blanche replies that he did not have to ask her. She teases Mitch that he is used to girls who are much easier to get with on a first day. Mitch then lets it out that he really likes Blanche. Blanche just laughs it off. She lights a candle and prepares drinks for the both of them to forget about worries. Blanche starts to distant herself away from Mitch. She tells Mitch not to make any more moves on her because it is not what she wants or had envisioned. After a moment of awkward silence, Mitch pitches the idea that they should go on a double date with Stanley and Stella. Mitch thinks that Stanley hates Blanche because he just does not know who she is because Mitch is being manipulated by the fake side of Blanche. Mitch changes the subject and asks Blanche how old she is because Mitch told his mother about her. This allows Blanche to open up to Mitch by telling her love story that had gone south. Mitch then comforts and kisses Blanche.
Stella is decorating the apartment and let’s Stanley know that it is Blanches birthday. Stanley sits Stella down to let her in on the dirt that he has on Blanche. We hear Blanche singing in the shower while he does so. Stanley now knows all of the detail about Blanche and her past at the Flamingo Hotel. The hotel asked her to leave due to her unacceptable behavior and Stanley also finds out she was fired from her job at the school for being in a relationship with a seventeen-year-old boy. With all these stories adding up, Stanley still has not convinced his wife Stella. This is due to that Stella and Blanche are sister and that Stella tries to see the best in her.
Mitch is told about these stories and will no longer pursue marrying Blanche. Stanley bought Blanche a cruel surprise birthday gift it being a ticket back to Laurel. Stanley ends up going into the bathroom after he hollers at Blanche to get out. Blanche then asks Stella what happened. Stella lies to her sister saying that nothing had occurred.
Forty-five minutes have passed, and Blanches birthday dinner is winding down. Mitches spit remains empty. To enlighten the mood of the moment, Blanche as Stanley to tell a joke but he declines. Stanley is being called names by the sisters for the way he eats. He gets very angry and reminds them that he is the king of the household. Tears begin to make their way out of Stella’s eyes again. Blanche is going to call Mitch and ask him why he did not attend dinner. Mitch did not pick up. Stanley and Stella are sitting on the porch. Stanley tells Stella that everything will be alright, and thinks will be back to normal once Blanche leaves. Blanche is sticking up for herself saying g that she does not have to take Mitch’s insults. The steam from Blanches steam bath is annoying Stanley. The phone rings; Blanche expected it to be Mitch on the other line, but it turned out to be one of Stanley’s bowling buddies as Stanley intercepted the call. Stanley finally gives Blanche her birthday present which was a ticket to Laurel. Blanche tries to remain eased, but she fails as Stanley’s “surprise” had hurt her emotionally. Stella wants to know why Stanley is treating Blanche so poorly. They have a quick conversation, but it is cut short when Stanley noticed something was wrong with his wife. Stella has asked to be taken to the hospital. Stanley is there every step of the way with her.
Now later in the evening, Blanche is in the bedroom. There are many bottles of alcohol on the table and Blanche begins to start drinking to escape her pain. Mitch comes to the door and Blanche put some makeup on and allows him in the house. Expecting it to be a lovely greeting with a kiss, Mitch just passes her straight into the apartment. He is a bit drunk, denying alcohol that Blanche has offered him. Also, Mitch is weary about Blanches interest in his mother so he back off and focused on his mood. The Varsouviana, the polka music has been playing in Blanches head and she recounts the day that her husband, Allan, had killed himself. She could still hear the gunshot to this day and Blanche had no idea what she is talking about. Blanche rambles in about her birthday dinner that Mitch missed while pretending to look for a bottle of whiskey. Mitch keeps declining the drinks that she is offering to him. Blanche finally asks Mitch what is going through his mind. He responds that he has never seen Blanche is the light, only in the dark. Then Mitch turns the light on causing Blanche to cry and then he turns the light back off. Mitch is tired of being lied to by Blanche and he begins to tell Blanche about everything he has heard. Blanche denies the stories and says that those men are lying.
After Mitch’s departure a few hours later, Blanches drunk and trying on a tiara on her head. She is looked at herself in the mirror. She was very upset with herself, so she smashed the mirror. Stanley walks into the House intoxicated as well and informs Blanche that the baby will not be born until the next day. Stanley wants to know by Blanche is all dressed up and she responds to him saying that Shep Huntleigh wants her to accompany him on his yacht. Stanley wants Blanche to share a beer with him to enjoy to good news with the baby and her. Blanche declines the drink. Stanley gets on his special silk pajamas because of the big day that is coming up for him and Stella. Blanche talks about how she is financially poor but has a beautiful mind and good spirits to make up for it. Blanche goes on to talk about how Mitch came by and that she could not forgive him for what he had done to her. Stanley goes into asking if Mitch came over before or after the telegram and catches Blanche off guard. He then goes on a barrage of attacks breaking down Blanches fantasy world and bringing her back to reality. Stanley saw Mitch after his time with Blanche and Mitch told Stanley that he was still mad at Blanche.
A few weeks have now passed, and Stella is packing up Blanches suitcases for her departure. Blanche is like always taking her bath while the guys are playing poker. Stanley is boasting himself up against the others and gaining f confidence since he is winning a lot. Eunice asked about how Blanche is doing, and Stella responded that they have found a place for her to stay in the country. Stella still does not believe Blanches rape story in order to keep life going with Stanley. Stella and Eunice are accommodating Blanches needs. Blanche asks if Shep Huntleigh has called and Stella answered that he hasn’t. At the poker table, Mitch hears Blanches voice that makes him dream of her. At the same time, Stanley is trying to snap him out of it. Stanley’s voice can be heard from the kitchen stunning Blanche. Blanche is now looking to leave but the women restrain her from doing so by saying it would be much safer for her to leave once the poker game finished up. Blanche is excited about her upcoming vacation with her wealthy lover. The doorbell rings and Blanche go to answer it. It turns out to be a doctor and a nurse. She becomes nervous. Blanche was out on the porch with the doctor but quickly retreated back inside the apartment. Stanley intervened and blocks Blanche from entering the bedroom. The Varsouviana music starts to get louder in her head. The nurse heads in to grab Blanche. As the nurse enters the apartment, she gets a hold of Blanche. The doctor makes his way into the apartment to inspect Blanche. The nurse ends up letting Blanche go. The doctor, nurse and Blanche left the apartment making their way outside and continued to walk. Blanche did not look back to see her sister Stella break down in tears. Stanley tries to comfort her as best as he can, but Stella still continues to sob in tears. The play ends with Steve introducing a new card game called seven card studs.”