“A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams

Run out of town, Blanche DuBois arrives at the New Orleans home of her sister, Stella, in hopes of finding refuge and new start at happiness. When her sister’s husband, Stanley Kowalski, abuses Stella, Blanche urges the pregnant woman to leave her husband, but Stella fancies herself in love with Stanley and refuses to leave him. As the reasoning behind Blanche’s departure from Laurel comes to light, her hopes for love and her already feeble mind crumble.

I start this review thinking I would talk about how depressing this play is, how much I disliked it. But then I slept on it and when I woke up this morning, I realized I am actually rather fond of Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire”, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948. No doubt that it is one of the more depressing plays out there as it ends rather unhappily for all the characters involved. While some of the themes that exist in this play are timeless such as the destructiveness of desire, it still carries a heavy time stamp that makes it impossible for this story to occur anywhere other than 1947 New Orleans.

With the first act, I really disliked Blanche thinking her to be an empty-headed Southern Belle attempting to live in a fantasy world, but it became more and more apparent that the escapism is what has sustained her from the age of sixteen. The one time she attempted to face reality (and force someone else to see it too), she lost the boy she loved. Even drunk, abusive Stanley cannot be written off as a one-dimensional as his desires are all his weaknesses.  Very much so a character-driven classic.

Book Mentioned:

  • Williams, Tennessee. A Streetcar Named Desire. New York: Penguin Classics, 2009. First published 1947. Print. 128 pgs. ISBN: 9780141190273. Source: Library.
Book Cover © Penguin. Retrieved: May 29, 2010.
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9 thoughts on ““A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams

  1. This title is so well-known, but I’ve never read it. I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t even know it was a play. (I guess my knowledge of US literature isn’t as good as it should be).

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  2. I don’t konw much about this play but I think I need to devote more time to reading drama. It sounds complicated and satisfying. Even if depressing and something that initially is disliked. I like books that change like that for me.

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  3. Have you read “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”? That’s my fave Williams play, but probably because of the Paul Newman/Elizabeth Taylor movie. So much hotness, I’m surprised my TV doesn’t explode! 😉

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      1. I found it depressing. 😦 Well-written, but it’s one of the few things I’ve read so far that I just didn’t enjoy. I like Williams’ A Glass Menagerie much more.

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