Symbolism Of Desire In Tennessee WilliamsA Streetcar Named Desire

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Throughout the play, A Streetcar Named Desire, the streetcar serves as the main symbol in an attempt to define Blanche’s journey. Blanch comes from Belle Reve. On her journey to New Orleans, she has quite a few car changes. “They told me to take a streetcar named Desire, and then transfer to one called Cemeteries and ride six blocks and get off at--Elysian Fields!” (Williams 6) Although her exact route is not continuously brought up throughout the text, it has a greater purpose that if not evaluated, can often get overlooked. Desire is defined by dictionary.com as “to wish or long for; crave; want.” The streetcar throughout the text symbolizes Blanches journey of desiring to start over, hence why she gets on a streetcar named desire to get there. The author, Tennessee Williams is trying to show the deeper meaning behind her wanting to move on from her past by using this example and many others. Every girl loves baths or showers or some way of getting clean. The same way that women love being clean and smelling pretty, everyone has a thing that comforts them. These comforting “things” can be objects, people, thoughts, ideas, actions, dreams, etc. For Blanche, one of her comforts is baths. Williams uses bats a lot to show what she does in her free time. He attempts to get the point across that she is continuously taking baths to try and erase her past. Throughout the play, we find out everything that Blanche has been through and everything slowly starts making sense as to why she feels the need to erase her past. After going through her husband being unfaithful, she felt unworthy to be with him or anyone else, not to mention her husband’s suicide. Blanche blamed herself for her husband suicide. After finding him with another man, she told him that he disgusted her, and his suicide followed those words. This tore her apart, as it should. Everyone has a past or portion of it that they wish to erase. For Blanche, she wishes she could erase her husband's suicide which is the significance of the long, frequent baths. Another symbol Mr. Williams uses is Blanche’s obsession with light. She described her love for her young, belated husband as a “blinding light”.

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