A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams is a story about a schoolteacher named Blanche DuBois that rooms in a very tight apartment with her sister Stella Kowalski, they have been very distant for years but are now spending some quality time together since Blanche DuBrois loosed her house and her teaching license because of her bad attitude. Blanche DuBrois is shunned and disliked by Stella Kowalski’s husband Stanley Kowalski because she has a major drinking problems, she is homeless, poor and her beliefs on social diverse class working. Stanley gets upset with Blanche because she is wooing his best friend Mitch so he chases after her but to his surprise Stella defends her. Stella is then beaten by Stanley and the two scared women escape to their neighbor’s room to hide from Stanley. After some time passes Stella returns to the room and forgives Stanley for everything and they get back together. Blanche finds Mitch to find comfort and safety from Stanley but what she really finds is a partner and a friend to share her deepest secrets with. Soon Stanley figures out about Blanches awful, cheating, and disturbing past and shares it with Mitch so they both know why Blanche is poor, homeless and a drunk. For Blanche’s birthday Mitch and Stanley tells her to go back to where she came from while Stella tries to defend her. One day Blanche is drunk and home alone when Stanley arrives at the apartment with news that his wife is having a baby but Blanche doesn’t care so she tries to escape but she can’t. Stanley rapes Blanche in the apartment because she is drunk and he wants to take advantage of her. A week later Blanche is delusional and going crazy so the insane asylum doctor comes to take her away forever. Stella tries to keep Blanche but the doctor will not allow it, as Blanche is walking away with the doctor Stella is crying with her new born child as Stanley is comforting her with loving words.
Blanche DuBois is the main character and the protagonist of the story. She is very confused, lonely and always desiring something in her life. Alcohol and men help her forget about her dead husband and her life. Blanche tries to start over but her past is always holding her back from what she thinks she can do. Blanche has to stay with her sister Stella because her husband is dead and she has no money or shelter, she tries to make peace with Stanley but he has already made up his mind of her because of her past. Blanche tries to create a relationship with Mitch but he tries to use her because of her past and he doesn’t want to be seen with her. Blanche is always creating havoc in the apartment but at the end of the story she is being mourned by all of her peers for what she used to be and what she has become because of her past.
Stella Kowalski is Blanche’s sister that takes her into her home with open arms. Stella is the second main character in the story and she is the first person to bring Blanche and Stanley together which causes problems from the beginning. She is a peace bringer that just wants what is best for everybody. She helps out Blanche as much as she can and tries to get her husband Stanley to see the good side of Blanche. Stella is torn between her husband Stanley and her sister Blanche throughout the entire story. Stella and Blanche share the same thoughts because they both deny reality and what is happening to them and their surroundings. Stella tries to make peace between her husband and her sister by hosting events, having family dinners and chatting together. Stella is like the voice of peace and reason and she is always trying to create a perfect little family so she can feel comfortable to have a child with her husband and having an amazing sister.
Stanley Kowalski is the antagonist in this story because he is somewhat evil and is never forgiving and understanding towards people. Stanley has a deep hatred for Blanche because she is homeless, needy, poor, drunk and always has a very negative attitude toward the social working class. Stanley is always trying to kick Blanche out of the house and trying to start a family without her in it. He is a hardworking man that enjoys his job, friends, game nights and his wife. When Blanche interferes with those things than he gets angry and tries to stop it any way he can. Stanley keeps lying to his wife to keep her calm and to turn on her own sister. He rapes Blanche and turns her into a crazy drunk which gets her kicked out of the apartment and thrown into the insane asylum.
Mitch is not a main character in the story because he is always coming in and out in the story. He helps the readers understand the true side to Blanche and why she is what she is. Mitch turns out to be a good friend and a good boyfriend to Blanche because he is almost always protecting her and always listening to what she has to say. Mitch hears all of the stories about Blanche from Stanley and his whole perspective on Blanche changes and his attitude is quickly changed because of it. Mitch was a good character in the story until Stanley changed him into another antagonist. Blanche felt safe and comfortable because of Mitch and she told him all of her feelings and thoughts which helped the reader learn new things about Blanche. At the end of the story Mitch turns out to be another liar and stands behind Stanley watching Blanche going crazy walking with the doctor to the ambulance.
The setting of this story is in downtown New Orleans in the late 1940’s towards the end of the Great Depression. People were very poor during this time and were always looking for places to stay. People were trying to always marry the rich individuals because they have a lot of money and they would be taken care of. The economy was very poor and people were doing anything to survive in this country. New Orleans was a tough place to live and survive in because there wasn’t much work and a lot of people were struggling. The characters live in a small apartment only meant for two people; the apartment was taken by Stella, Stanly, Blanche and sometimes Stanley’s friends from work. There is a lot of tension and frustration in that small apartment because everyone has their differences and they are always fighting to see who makes the rules and is the toughest character.
Man v. Man in the story is probably represented by Blanche and Stanley because they are always both arguing over what is happening in the apartment and what is happening with Mitch. They both have different opinions about each other and they are both being confronted by Stella. Stanley and Blanche are very different and they create conflicts in the story because of Mitch, where Blanche is living and her past.
Man v. Self in the story is Blanche because she is always trying to see and do what is right. Blanche tries throughout the story denying what is happening in reality. She keeps lying to herself throughout the story, she tries to forget about her past by being with a lot of men and drinking and she will not accept help. Blanche is always struggling with herself because she will not accept reality and what it has done to her and what it is doing to her sister and her husband.
Man v. Society in the story is very noticeable because Blanche is always drinking herself half to death everywhere she goes. She is always trying to find new men to be with so she can forget about what has happened to her. Blanche will not accept society for what It is and she will not accept who she is throughout the story.
Trying to overcome reality is one of the main themes in the story because Blanche can’t accept reality in the story because of her awful past. She tries to come back to reality and live her life but men and alcohol drag her down and make her feel as if she doesn’t need to accept reality any more.
Men and death is another theme that is portrayed throughout the entire story. Blanche hates looking old and ugly so she tries to be with younger men to make her feel a lot younger than what she really is. She believes that looking younger and being with younger men is better than getting older and dying of old age.
Depending on men is another theme in the story that is always seen by the readers. Blanche is always depending on men to make her feel better about herself. She likes the chase and the experience she gets from it because it makes her feel young and loving again and she doesn't have to worry about the real world.
Cries and Shadows are a symbol in the story because this shows how Blanche is being attacked by Stanley and how she can’t do anything but cry and shout for help. These symbols are what are last shown before Blanche is finally the crazy person she never wanted to be. She gave up on reality and became an insane woman that doesn’t know how to deal with herself anymore.
The Varsouviana Polka is another symbol that means the death of Blanche’s husband. Every time Blanche thinks of her husband she remembers the dance because that was the last time Blanche ever saw her husband. This is what changed her life forever and made her have mental breakdowns and created problems for her later in her life.
“It’s Only a Paper Moon” is a song that Blanche sings to herself, the song is a symbol of how love is not associated with reality and if lovers love each other and they accept reality than it will not work. Blanche doesn’t accept reality so she believes she will find love somewhere and she doesn’t have to believe in reality and she can live in a fantasy world.
"A Streetcar Named Desire (play)." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 12 Mar. 2013. Web. 01 Apr. 2013.