S-Cool Revision Summary

S-Cool Revision Summary

Ways of Seeing

This is a play about basic sexual identity and judgment. It is a tragedy in the sense that Blanche is doomed to a life of suffering. All characters are locked in different situations: Stella has escaped from her life at Belle Reve but has escaped to an existence in a three-roomed home in an environment where domestic violence is tolerated as the norm.

Everyone is trapped by reinforced gender roles and the play's continual cycle of daily lives reflects this. On the surface the play simplifies characters, but on examining them and questioning its presentations, deeper issues are involved.

Characters

Blanche DuBois
Copyright S-cool Is a strong character despite a life of hardship and lack of friendship
Copyright S-cool Is aware at some at some level of her shortcomings: she knows must keep hold of herself
Copyright S-cool Manipulative, and will lie to others and herself to try and make life as she would like it to be
Copyright S-cool Jealous of her sister's life yet critical too: a social snob with certain standards

 

Stanley Kowalski
Copyright S-cool Loves Stella and is loyal
Copyright S-cool Knows what he wants in life
Copyright S-cool Is a typical domineering male stereotype
Copyright S-cool Deliberately scares Blanche, physically and mentally

 

 

Stella Kowalski
Copyright S-cool Has a gentle and strong character
Copyright S-cool Has sympathy for Blanche's difficult life, and tries to help Blanche to feel better
Copyright S-cool Chooses her husband over her sister, although she knows there is something fundamentally wrong in his actions
Copyright S-cool Does not help her sister on a more than superficial level

 

 

Mitch
Copyright S-cool More sensitive than the rest of the male group
Copyright S-cool Is potentially someone Blanche could open up to
Copyright S-cool Ultimately, he judges women according to the stereotypical idea that they are either virgins or whores
Copyright S-cool Does not stand up for Blanche once his pride is injured.

 

 

Major Areas of Study

 

Gender and sexuality.

Past and Present.

Race and Poverty.

Tension and Desire.

Dreams and Reality.

Language and Music.

Suffering.

Truth.

Sample Questions

In what ways does Blanche represent the faded American Dream?

What tensions are created by Williams' use of the past and present in A Streetcar Named Desire?

What effect does the combination of fantasy and reality have in A Streetcar Named Desire?

Does Williams' presentation of all the characters in this play evoke sympathy and compassion from the audience?

Discuss the presentation of Stella/Stanley/Blanche/Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire.