Streetcar Named Desire Essay: Themes in A Streetcar Named Desire

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Themes in A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire is a pessimistic work that is the “culmination of a view of life in which evil, or at least undiminished insensitivity, conquers throughout no matter what the protagonistic forces do”(Szeliski 69). In other words, sensitive individuals all meet a similar fate-crushed under the heels of those who lack sensitivity.

This play is about Blanche DuBois; therefore, the main themes of the drama concern her directly. In Blanche is seen the tragedy of an individual caught between two worlds-the past world of the Southern gentlewoman and the present world of crudeness and decay-unwilling to let go of the past and unable, because of her character, to come to any sort of terms with …show more content…

She knows she is an anachronism in an alien world and yet she will not compromise. She cannot and will not surrender the dream she has of herself, and even though she wants desperately not to be lonely, it is precisely the clinging to this dream, the airs, mannerisms and sense of herself, which alienate her further. She is trapped in a terrifying contradiction. Her need to be special, to adhere to codes and a tradition no longer valid, creates an intense isolation, while simultaneously her desire to not be alone, to be loved, threatens to break through this isolation. It not only threatens, but does break through. Betrayed by love once in her life, she nevertheless seeks it in the effort to fill the lonely void; thus, her promiscuity. But to adhere to her tradition and her sense of herself as a lady, she cannot face this sensual part of herself. She associates it with the animalism of Stanley's love-making and terms it “brutal desire”. She feels guilt and a sense of sinfulness when she does surrender to it, and yet she does, out of intense loneliness. By viewing sensuality as brutal desire she is able to disassociate it from what she feels is her true self, but only at the price of an intense inner conflict. Since she cannot integrate these conflicting elements of desire and gentility, she tries to reject the one, desire, and live solely by the other. Desperately seeking a haven she looks increasingly to fantasy. Taking refuge in tinsel, fine

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