Tennessee Williams’s “A Streetcar Named Desire” Analysis

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Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desirewas an American written play that housed many themes. In the play, Blanche Dubois came to New Orleans to stay with her sister and brother-in-law for an undisclosed amount of time. She arrives under the pretense that she has taken a leave of absence from teaching in Mississippi due to stress and nerves. However, Blanche is actually running from her past. Most of her family has died, including her husband. Since then, she has been leaving a life of promiscuity. She is in need of a suitor to save her from her depression in life. Blanche seeks to be desired by men for her sexuality and purity.

Throughout the play, Blanche uses her sexuality in many ways. She comes to New Orleans with nothing but a broken down self-esteem and a trunk full of party-like, decorative clothing and jewelry. She constantly uses these items to make her seem provocative and appealing toward men. She also is seen as a fragile and soft character with little confidence. However, the men she had experiences with at the Tarantula most likely took advantage of her soft demeanor. She also uses her sexuality to recapture her youth. In Scene 5, she goes on to seduce and kiss the young man who was only there to pick up payment for the newspaper delivery. She has no reason to do this other than trying to feel young again. If she feels young and can make a younger man desire her, it makes her feel more attractive and all the more desired. It also shows her attraction to younger men, which points to her affair with a young man at her school.

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Lastly, she tries uses her sexuality to put her past behind her by hooking up with Mitch. In Scene 3, She first attracts him by standing in the light, “Blanche moves back into the streak of light. She raises her arms and stretches, as she moves indolently back to the chair.” She is using her shadow to cast an image of sexuality toward Mitch. she stays in the center of attention, “She takes off the blouse and stands in her pink silk brassiere and white skirt in the light through the portieres. The game has continued in undertones.”She sees Mitch as her last chance to be saved and her only means of attraction in her eyes are the use of her body. She uses the help of light, staying away from it so it’s harder for Mitch to see her true self.Blanche shows herself to be innocent and pure, contradicting the past. she is first seen in the play wearing white, “She is daintily dressed in a white suit with a fluffy bodice, necklace and earrings of pearl, white gloves and hat, looking as if she were arriving at a summer tea or cocktail party in the garden district.” She is wearing white here as a sign of purity. White is pure and has no stains or blemishes of other colors to ruin it. Blanche’s name in French, “White of the Woods. Like an orchard in the spring,” even represents purity. White represents purity and woods represents a place untouched by men.  She also keeps to her “southern belle” traditions and remains pure to who she is by constantly bathing and applying perfume. She also holds to her French backgrounds and doesn’t change to the new lifestyle that surrounds her.  She still has an image of who she is or wants to be.

Thus, she creates illusions to help to seem so.  She is present to the other characters as a modest drinker, only drinking when offered. She was so pure as a person, she never lied to herself,”“Never inside, I didn’t lie in my heart”. Whatever she said, she honestly felt that way and did not think twice.Whatever happened on the outside, her soul was untouched and remained pure. When around Stanley and Mitch, she always keeps her lady-like appearance. Always in a robe or kimono, never wanting to be seen unless she was at her best. Overall, she stays true to how a woman of this time should be acting. Blanche has a lot of bad habits that she tends to cover. She only does this to come off as pleasant and well-adapted person. She covers up to be seen by others as a delicate and weak to be saved a male suitor who can save her from her problems. Throughout the play, Blanche seeks to be desired by many through different aspects. She wants to be desired by men for her sexuality and her cleanness and purity. After all, she just wants to be loved. She cannot seem to fill the hole that Allen Grey has left her.

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Tennessee Williams’s “A Streetcar Named Desire” Analysis. (2022, Jan 04). Retrieved from


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