Themes and Images in a Streetcar Named Desire

1177 Words5 Pages
The most important themes of “A streetcar named Desire” are the following: sexual desire, death, madness and the contradiction between illusions and reality. All of these themes are tightly connected with each other and often appear simultaneously, via imagery. Right from the beginning of the play, Blanche says that in order to get to her sister’s house, she rode a streetcar named “Desire” and then changed to another one called “Cemeteries”. BLANCHE [with faintly hysterical humor]: “They told me to take a streetcar named Desire, and then transfer to one called Cemeteries and ride six blocks and get off at--Elysian Fields!” (p 117) The image of the two buses that actually ran the streets of New Orleans provides the perfect scenery for the beginning of the play, while the vehicles act as symbols representing the two most important themes: sexuality and death. The theme of death is often depicted indirectly throughout the play by means of various images. Blanche is afraid of dying and this is deducible by her constant anxiety about the way she looks or what she will wear, her hiding her real age and her aversion for bright light. Her attempts to assert her sexuality by seducing younger men also reveals her fear of growing old and losing her former beauty. She is convinced that her happiness depends on others, that she will only be happy if she is with a man, so she needs to use her good looks to find a husband. She believes that her beauty is her strongest asset and now that she is getting older, she dreads the possibility of being alone. In the following example Stella tries to cheer her up and make her feel attractive and desirable. However, Blanche thinks her beauty and youthfulness are beginning to die. STELLA: “You are as fresh as a daisy.” BLANCHE: “One that’s been picked a few days.” (p 144) Death has its most direct representation in scene 1 when Blanche

More about Themes and Images in a Streetcar Named Desire

Open Document