Discuss A Streetcar Named Desire Essay
Discuss A Streetcar Named Desire
Discuss A Streetcar Named Desire as a portrayal of a broken world. Hart Crane’s stanza, printed on the title-page of A Streetcar Named Desire, speaks of love’s voice as “an instant in the wind”. The last line goes on to allude to its transiency. Given that this is placed under the banner of a “broken world”, a play that otherwise boasts the subtlety of its imagery seems to get a rather blunt prefix. William’s intention was to create for Blanche a form of heroism. Here, on the first page, he pronounces love to be a dying entity.
He tells us that it cannot be a permanent force within the vessel of human decision making. In the scenes that follow, he introduces a character positively wrestling with her internal nihilism, a character in contemplative turmoil about whether there is something more to her being-and her decisions. She quickly enters wholly hedonistic and materialistic surroundings, where her fading romanticism is contrasted with the apathetic humanism of Stanley. There is not, as the question suggests, a deep and deliberate flaw spanning the world of A Streetcar Named Desire. Indeed, such an assertion entirely misses the point.
Perhaps it is a semantic difference, but the world depicted in the play is an entirely functional one; it is a world in which all the coherent parts play off each other, with both friction and cooperation. It is entirely incorrect to state that the lives of Stanley, Stella, Eunice, and Steve don’t continue from day-to-day with regularity and a certain degree of contentedness. That is not to say that Williams presents a situation that is either positive or, more crucially, hopeful. Instead, he examines twentieth century society as a great evolutionary mechanism: a fact, an absolute, in which Blanche constitutes an anomaly.
Within this mechanism, base-line motivations act as stimuli for every moment of character action-and, as a reader, there is a temptation to focus on this. However, a more consequential realisation is that these hedonistic human pursuits-sex, monetary accumulation, power, and so on-also power the stasis of the play. Every moment of internal equilibrium is clamped in place by microcosm of personal economics and raw desire. The best illustrations of this come through Stella. Of course, her behaviour is often contrasted in blunt and unequal terms to Blanche’s melodrama.
As a result of this, the passages between them exhibit a rather distorted sense of tension, whereby Stella’s consistency of view-point deflates the very conflict that Blanche is starting. Therefore, there is a tendency, particularly early in the play, to see Stella as a defeated character: there is aura of disconnection about her, as if the world has no effect on her: Blanche: And you are standing there smiling. Stella: What do you want me to do? B: Pull yourself together and face the facts. S: What are they, in your opinion? B: In my opinion? You’re married to a madman!