A Streetcar Named Desire

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A Streetcar Named Desire Commentary This passage from the play A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams takes place in New Orleans in the 1940s. At this time New Orleans was the kingdom for a rising new social class. Stanley Kowalski, the ruler of this kingdom seems to control everyone around him, especially his wife Stella. However when he takes his control to a physical level, and hits Stella, Stella’s Sister, Blanche, decides he has gone to far. From here Blanche goes on to try to get Stella to see Stanley too common for a woman of Stella’s status. It is in this passage that Williams clearly characterizes Blanche as a foil to Stanley through his use of abrupt syntax, parallel structure, and animal imagery. Williams uses abrupt syntax throughout this excerpt to reveal Blanche’s exasperation with Stanley and his actions. Blanche challenges Stella by claiming Stanley does not have one part of a gentleman in him, then goes on to say, “Not one particle, no! Oh, if he was just---ordinary! Just plain---but good and wholesome, but---no.” It can be seen here that Blanche is extremely distraught with Stanley. The uses of italicized words display Blanche’s emphasis on the fact that Stanley is nothing like the men from her old life. Blanche is also speaking in a very choppy manner, especially in comparison to her usual over flamboyant way of speech. These abrupt, declarative statements demonstrate her utter contempt for Stanley. While this syntax reveals Blanche’s distaste for Stanley, it also brings out a conflict in the old society versus the new society. One of the main reasons for Blanche’s anger is the fact that Stanley does not fit into her old societal standards, he is not a gentleman, he is neither good nor wholesome, and yet he seems to be ruling over Stella and the new society. It is Stanley’s demeanor in a new society that has Blanche speaking in an
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