Essay on Street Car named desire booklet

Submitted By Leanne-Spencer
Words: 1717
Pages: 7


Social Background

Shares that of her sister i.e. Old, aristocratic, French colonial
Old, aristocratic, French colonial e.g. Blanche to Stella 'You came to New Orleans...abandoned Belle Reve' (Sc 1)
White, polish roots, lower class 'civilian background'
White, very likely that she grew up with a family that also belonged to the middle class.


Destitute – lost job as teacher, family home & reputation. Psychologically unstable
Wed to Stanley with a child on the way. Living in a two room apartment. Home maker
Wed Stella who is expecting a child. Living in a two room apartment. Responsible for income.
Occupies the apartment above that belonging to Stanley and Stella.

Married to Steve; a poker buddy of Stanley's

Physical description

'Her delicate beauty must avoid strong light.'

'like a cherub in choir'

'A gentle young woman, about twenty-five'
'Twenty-eight or thirty years old'

'Medium height, about five feet eight or nine, and strongly, compactly built.
'White woman'

Lack of in depth character description may connatate lack of importance in terms of plot development.

Effect of Language and actions

Alcohol dependent e.g. She rushes to the closet and removes the bottle; she is shaking all over... but very much in denial “Now don't worry, your sister hasn't turned into a drunkard” or at the very least weary of allowing others to know this. Carries with her an air of sexual promiscuity, even around her sister's husband. E.g. “ I've been flirting with your husband.” Her general mannerisms bring about a sense of foreboding.
Standard English, polite e.g. “Well I thought you'd volunteer that information if you wanted to tell me.”

Submissive and placid e.g. “I just got in the habit of being quiet around you.”
Descriptions of his actions are very animalisation e.g. “Animal joy...” “...stalks” Gives the impression that, much like an animal, he acts mainly on instincts, following every primal urge.

Localised idioms rampant with grammatical errors e.g. “You don't have to look no further.” “...that's where she's at.” She extenuates to lower class to which Stella has indoctrinated herself.

Miler's use of stage directions

'Her appearance is one of shocked disbelief'

Her appearance is incongruous to this setting
'Stella looks slowly down at her hands folded on the table' – Rather than meet her sister's eye.

'Stella goes to the bathroom' -To compose herself in private

'Stella snatches up her white hat and gloves and crosses to the outside door'
'Animal joy in his being is implicit in all his movements and attitudes'

Audience's impressions of the chosen characters (analysis of language used in the stage directions)
'Blanche sits in a chair very stiffly.' - Physical state mirroring physiological state; stiff, rigid, weary of anything that might tip the balance and cause a physiological meltdown.

'She catches her breath with a startled gesture' – Evidence of being on edge

'She pours half a tumbler of whisky and tosses it down' – Alcohol dependent, implied from the use of the verb 'toss' ; easily, act of habit.
'Carefully pouring herself a drink' – Juxtapositions appreciation for alcohol with obsession (Blanche)

'Dutifully' – Considers being a crutch upon which her sister's self-confidence may stand, her 'duty'

Imagery and symbolism

Ironic use of white imagery e.g. ….

Light and shade symbolise truth and illusion
e.g. ….
Collects up white garments before leaving Blanche at the mercy of Stanley and his accusations of Belle Reve. The white of the gloves signifies purity. Use of gloves- modernised version of pilot washing his hands of the before handing over Christ to the people to be crucified.
-roughly kicks the trunk shut- Does the job of closing the trunk but not effectively- Argument is over but neither party is happy

Function in the play

New, independent working- class American e.g. …

Supportive of Stella e.g.

Relationship with other characters – How does