The Streetcar Named Desire: Symbols, Ideas, Conflicts

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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“The Streetcar Named Desire is a play that was written by Tennessee Williams in the year 1947; the presentations in the play happens in Orleans and can be studied to being occurred between May and September, and it revolves around the conflict between Blanche Dubois and Stanley Kowalski: in the play, lower class and upper class are both associated with different meanings, for example, the upper class is associated with intellectual strength; this paper intends to provide an analysis based on the class conflict presented in the play.

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In the play A Streetcar Named Desire, class conflict has been presented in various manners, through the language used, characters, and symbols. Additionally, throughout the play, numerous characters or actors such as Stanley, Blanches, Mitch, and Stella have been used to indicate lower and upper classes in addition to the conflict that exists between the classes. The application of symbols, ideas, and language in the play are imperative since they assist in describing the diverse classes in addition to presenting the class conflicts. Additionally, the language through the dialogue of the characters, symbolic application of names, animal color and imager (clothes), and the concepts of cultural capital are imperative since they assist in describing what upper and lower classes are. Blanche’s character in the play reveals the out-dated aristocratic upper class, and cultural capital based on her education and the sophisticated dialogue she conducts; Blanche is also cultivated and bound by her tradition and heritage.

Stanley has been used in the play to signify the play’s emergent industrial south and lower class based on his work at the steel mill, his application of slang in communication and ignorance. Additionally, Stanley’s society is primarily based on ingenuity and force; in this case, the lower class as presented in the play is connected to physical strength. From the start, the conflict between the upper and lower class in the play is prominent. The working group as indicated in the play survives, triumphs and is predatory with two imperative elements vitality and strength which the upper class does not possess. In other words, the class conflict is evident in this case based on the fact that Blanche and the out-dated south are seen to be fragile and only a matter of period and duration before Kowalski infatuates its opposition.

Class conflict has also been effectively shown in the play based on the clothes, and the symbolic application of animal imagery and color. The conflict is evident in the introductory scene of the play when Blanche and Stanley are presented; Blanche’s cloth which she wears is presented to be proper white “she is daintily dressed in a white suit with a fluffy bodice, necklace, and earrings of pearl, white gloves, and hat.” (Williams) (Scene One Stage directions). Through this description of the clothes that Blanche wears, a conflict is presented whereby, the dress presents a different class from what Stanley wears. Stanley wears a dirty denim work attire “… He roughly dressed in blue denim work clothes…carriers his blowing jacket” (Williams) (Scene One Stage directions). This, therefore, shows that Blanche always wears clothes of white, pale, and imid color which is different from the bright, bold colored clothes worn by Stanley.

According to Grecco (144), the conflict presented above highpoints in scene ten whereby, Stanley starts with unresponsive comments like “Swine huh?” “You did huh?” to Blanche’s dialogue in which she attempts to redeem herself. Stanley then continues to ravish Blanche. Stanley’s last line prior to grabbing Blanche proposes that throughout their duration together Stanley assumed that he would eventually overcome Blanche “we’ve had this date with each other from the beginning.”

Another imperative section where class conflict can be identified in the play is in Belle Reve and Stanley’s “Napoleonic code” (Gavrila 469). Blanche informs Kowalski’s that she had misplaced Belle Reve but lacking proof doubts arrive with Stanley “well, what in the hell was it then, give away? To charity?” Stella fails to take the fact that Blanche does not have papers concerning Belle Reve as expressive as Stanley ensures. Stanley from a relatively poor upbringing equated to Stella and Blanches Belle Reve farm and now would appreciate a share of their possessions and talks about the Napoleonic code indicating that all the things his wife has are also his.

After browsing through Blanche’s possessions for evidence, Stanley subtlety challenges her with “it looks like you raided some stylish shops in Paris” (Gavrila 469). Additionally, it can be noted that Blanche’s language is sophisticated dissimilar from Stanley’s who possess a slight range of vocabulary. Blanche’s language enables the audience to comprehend that she is a properly-educated (Gonzalez 131). While, even though Stanley attempts to sham he is intellectual, for instance when he speaks about the Napoleonic code, the audience take up Stanley had not acquired better education as a result of his slender range of terminology and his ‘vulgar expressions.’

Conclusively, it can be stated that the play “The Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams majorly talks about conflicts. This has been confirmed on various sections presented in the play. Some of the identified elements that have been used to show the class conflict in the play consist of clothes, language, and characters. In other words, the application of symbols, ideas, and language in the play are imperative since they assist in describing the diverse classes in addition to presenting the class conflicts.”

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The Streetcar Named Desire: Symbols, Ideas, Conflicts. (2021, Apr 15). Retrieved from