Tennessee Williams' Use of Dramatic Devices To Create Contrast And Conflict In "A Streetcar Named Desire"

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Tennessee Williams' Use of Dramatic Devices To Create Contrast And Conflict In "A Streetcar Named Desire"

Tennessee Williams uses a number of dramatic devices to highlight the conflicting worlds of the old and new American South. These can be divided into four categories: staging, character and language, and props and costumes. I will be using these categories for reference in this essay. 'A Streetcar Named Desire' is an example of the genre
'realism'. Realism is fiction that is overtly gritty and realistic, showing real people in real situations, and also comments on the state of the world at that time. The play is set shortly after the American
Civil War, which was fought over the right to keep slaves; the South wanted to
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Williams uses the train to highlight Elysian Fields as modernized, industrialized South:

" The roar of an approaching locomotive. Blanche crouches, pressing her fists to her ears until it has gone by."(p.80)

Blanche always jumps and covers her ears when it passes - or when there are any loud noises -; this is because they remind her of the defining moment in her life: her husband's suicide.

Tennessee Williams creates the image of Elysian Fields as a very industrial area by placing lots of metal everywhere outside, by having the train go past every so often, and by making Stanley work in a steel-works. This is reflected in the cheap, mass-produced furniture they have inside the apartment. This establishes the context; as I stated earlier, the new South is very industrialised, nearly everyone who lives there works in a factory or sells things, representing modern America as a heavily capitalist country. This is also reflected in Stanley's attitude to life; he comes across as aggressive and overpowering, his attitude to threats is to immediately eliminate them. This reflects America's attitude towards threats.

Tennessee Williams uses Scene 4 to set up the relationship between
Stanley and Stella; to show that it is based entirely on passion. In the previous scene, Stanley ended up hitting Stella, but now it has been resolved by the 'bright lights' -
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