A Street Car Named Desire

Mind Map by 10o'brienk, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by 10o'brienk over 5 years ago


Mind Map on A Street Car Named Desire, created by 10o'brienk on 05/09/2016.

Resource summary

A Street Car Named Desire
  1. Scenes 1-3
    1. Scene 1
      1. In Greek mythology, the Elysian Fields are the final resting place of the heroic and virtuous. The street name is both a literal street in New Orleans and a symbolic resting place. Williams romanticizes the neighborhood: even though it is poor, all races and classes are mixed, and the constant music gives everything a slightly dreamy quality.
        1. Tossing the package of meat symbolically captures Stanley and Stella’s sexual relationship: he hurls himself physically at her, and she accepts delightedly. Raw physical lust forms a vital part of the life-blood of New Orleans, and of their relationship.
          1. Blanche’s journey is both literal – these are real places in New Orleans – and allegorical. She has ridden Desire to the end of the line and has hit rock bottom before arriving here.
            1. Blanche’s nervousness at Eunice’s questions indicate that she has something to hide in her past and that there is more to her seemingly innocent appearance than meets the eye.
              1. Blanche considers herself to be above her surroundings. Her concealed drinking shows her desire to escape reality as well as the fact that she is quite adept at hiding facts about herself. Blanche is very concerned with keeping her delicate surface appearance intact.
                1. The loss of Belle Reve, the “beautiful dream,” represents the loss of Blanche and Stella’s previous way of life. Rather than face the consequences of her actions, Blanche blames Stella for choosing the lower-class, Polish Stanley over the DuBois family.
                  1. • There is pathos here. Blanche is afraid of growing old and losing her looks
                    1. • Treats Stella like a child to go and run her errands
                    2. Scene 2
                      1. Blanche’s frequent baths symbolize her yearning for emotional rejuvenation and cleansing. The revealed pregnancy explains Stella’s weight gain. Stella has not yet told Blanche so as not to surprise Blanche’s delicate nerves all at once.
                        1. Stanley is not concerned with Blanche’s emotional fragility: he is only looking out for his own interests. He immediately distrusts Blanche, as he senses that she has some power over Stella, whereas he wants to have Stella completely.
                          1. The fact that Stanley is blinded by the flashy dresses and fake gems shows his lower-class origins: all that glitters seems to be gold to his animalistic, avaricious eye.
                            1. The red satin robe suggests sexuality. Blanche tries to flirt with Stanley by emphasizing her femininity, but Stanley continues to assert his aggressive physical dominance
                              1. Though Stella tries to mediate between Blanche and Stanley, the power struggle is between the two of them. Stanley is suspicious of Blanche and insistent that she is hiding something from him. Blanche does not want Stanley to contaminate the love letters from her husband: she does not want her romantic vision of her past soiled by the present.
                                1. The tamale vendor yelling “Red-hot!” symbolizes the power of the red-blooded physical world over lost dreams of the past. Stella bears the promise of new life into the dying DuBois line.
                                2. Scene 3
                                  1. The artificially lurid, vivid kitchen in the middle of the night is somewhat sinister and hell-like. The card-playing and drinking amplifies the men’s animal natures. When Mitch worries about his mother, he goes into the bathroom, leaving the masculine space.
                                    1. When the women enter the apartment, they walk straight into the heart of the masculine space. Stanley asserts his dominance physically over Stella, and she and Blanche retreat to the shadowy, feminine bedroom space.
                                      1. Blanche encounters Mitch under her terms, that is, in the half-light of the bedroom that hides reality. She sees that she can draw him in with her flirtation, and she views him as a potential suitor. Faithful Stella sets Stanley above the rest of the men in her estimation.
                                        1. Stanley is upset that Blanche is demonstrating power in his house: he wants to dominate the entire space, but Blanche is creating her own gravitational pull.
                                      2. Blanche's short comings
                                        1. • Her love of drink
                                          1. • Her awareness of social distinctions
                                            1. • She is from a high upbringing than them. Has a better education
                                              1. • Her actions to her social inferiors
                                                1. • Vanity and need for flattery
                                                  1. • Needs flattery to banish her terrors
                                                  2. Stan and Stella
                                                    1. • Stella is infatuated with him
                                                      1. • The audience relies on Stella’s description of him which has clearly been altered. ‘love is blind’
                                                        1. • Stella is described as a ‘gentle young woman’
                                                          1. • She is uses to complementing Blanche, going back to their old routine.
                                                            1. • Stanley likes his dominance over Stella
                                                            2. Music
                                                              1. Blue piano
                                                                1. the blue piano symbolises this part of new Orleans
                                                                  1. • Is uses as a dramatic device as well but not consistent
                                                                  2. Polka
                                                                    1. • This music is only for Blanche
                                                                      1. • Has dramatic weight
                                                                        1. • It recalls the last time Blanche danced with her husband, Allen • Just before his suicide
                                                                          1. • Uses the music to alert the audience to her guilt and to her nostalgia
                                                                            1. • Is not used to create an atmosphere like ‘blue piano’ (this does it to some extent)
                                                                              1. Stresses an important part of the plot and Blanche’s character
                                                                                1. • Links to scene six and the story being told there
                                                                              2. Plastic Theater
                                                                                1. • A term coined by Williams to describe a distinctive new style • Setting, sound, music, visual effects – all staging elements – combine to reflect and enhance the action, theme, characters and language
                                                                                  1. • Playwright gives definitive and highly descriptive script instead of the director/actor
                                                                                    1. • Metaphors that draw on use of art, light and sound to emphasise symbols and themes employed
                                                                                      1. • To heighten awareness of certain events of characterisations
                                                                                        1. • Use of props or staging to impress upon audience more abstract ideas.
                                                                                        2. Symbolism
                                                                                          1. • Light bulb: The "naked" light bulb symbolizes truth and reality. The light bulb also symbolizes an epiphany. An epiphany is an "a-ha!" moment, the moment when some new idea or concept occurs to a person.
                                                                                            1. • Paper lantern: The paper lantern symbolizes something flimsy that is used to disguise reality, create illusion, and hide the truth. However the paper lantern cannot last, it can only temporarily create a romantic glow and keep the truth in shadow. The paper lantern is used by Blanche to disguise her fading beauty and indecent past
                                                                                              1. • White clothing: White symbolizes purity and innocence.
                                                                                                1. • Package of meat: The package of meat that Stanley throws at Stella and her eager catching of the meat is a symbol of their sexual relationship. Stanley is the provider (hunter & gatherer) and Stella waits happily at home for his return. The meat represents Stanley's almost barbaric manliness emphasised by his constant removal of clothing.
                                                                                                  1. • Bathing: Blanche's constant bathing shows her need to cleanse herself (metaphorically) of the impurities and disappointments in her past (the Hotel Flamingo, her own sinful behaviour with her young husband). The bathing helps relax Blanches' nerves and allows her mind to imagine that she is in better (and more pampered) circumstances. Bathing also makes Blanche feel young and girlish, laughing, singing, and splashing in the tub like a child.
                                                                                                    1. • Polka music: The polka music that Blanche hears whenever her young husband is discussed reminds Blanche of the frenzied manner in which she lost her husband. This music haunts Blanche and is one of the realities that she desires to escape.
                                                                                                    2. Southern belle
                                                                                                      1. The romanticized version of the South glosses over the harsh realities of slavery and emphasizes the fairytale of the belle.
                                                                                                        1. As the embodiment of strong character and virtue, the belle’s moral struggles symbolize the moral battles that the South felt they faced in fighting the war against the North, reinforcing the Southern sense of moral superiority
                                                                                                          1. Old South myth also functions to parallel the South’s believed moral struggle of the Civil War with the moral struggles of the Southern belle.
                                                                                                            1. • Due to the belle’s high moral standards, the belle faced moral threats daily; preserving her purity and social reputation were constant burdens
                                                                                                              1. • Whatever the motivations, the Southern belle emerged in the post war South as the model of purity and charm, comfortably part of a romanticized, idealized notion of the antebellum South.”
                                                                                                              2. Class antagonism
                                                                                                                1. • Stanley’s hostility to Blanche is rooted in the fact that Blanche is from a higher class and think she is better than him
                                                                                                                  1. by implication his wife as well
                                                                                                                  2. • His instinctive reaction is to drag Blanche down to his level or below so he can master her and be the dominate male
                                                                                                                    1. • He uses his sexuality as dominance
                                                                                                                      1. blanche tries to do this in the begginning
                                                                                                                      2. • The class antagonism is intensified with Stanley’s suspicion that Blanche has cheated Stella and him
                                                                                                                        1. • He pulls out Blanche expensive clothes and jewellery and portrays his ignorance of their value
                                                                                                                          1. less expensive than he thinks
                                                                                                                            1. His growing resentment comes because Stella mocks something she has never done before
                                                                                                                            2. • Blanche has change the system in their household
                                                                                                                              1. • Stanley is a man of the new world
                                                                                                                                1. • He has lots of acquaintance and contacts that deal in jewellery and clothes
                                                                                                                                  1. the underworld/black market
                                                                                                                                  2. • Knows about the law and what he is entitled too
                                                                                                                                  3. • He is the new working man who will replace the old south system
                                                                                                                                  4. Old South
                                                                                                                                    1. rich
                                                                                                                                      1. slavery
                                                                                                                                        1. traditions
                                                                                                                                          1. gentelmen
                                                                                                                                            1. southern belle
                                                                                                                                              1. civil war
                                                                                                                                                1. flirtatious
                                                                                                                                                  1. dead
                                                                                                                                                    1. Blanche
                                                                                                                                                      1. old blood
                                                                                                                                                        1. a dream
                                                                                                                                                          1. wealthy
                                                                                                                                                            1. racist
                                                                                                                                                            2. New south
                                                                                                                                                              1. workers
                                                                                                                                                                1. stanley
                                                                                                                                                                  1. ingrants
                                                                                                                                                                    1. the law
                                                                                                                                                                      1. normal people
                                                                                                                                                                        1. american dream
                                                                                                                                                                          1. reality
                                                                                                                                                                            1. taking over
                                                                                                                                                                              1. alive
                                                                                                                                                                                1. stella
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