Context of A Streetcar Named Desire

Summer Pearce
Mind Map by Summer Pearce, updated more than 1 year ago
Summer Pearce
Created by Summer Pearce over 4 years ago


- (Year 2) English Language and Literature (A Streetcar Named Desire) Mind Map on Context of A Streetcar Named Desire, created by Summer Pearce on 01/11/2017.

Resource summary

Context of A Streetcar Named Desire
  1. Sources
      2. Biography of Tennessee Williams
        1. Early life
          1. born in Columbus, Mississipi, 1911
            1. his father, C.C. Williams, was a traveling salesman and a heavy drinker
              1. his mother, Edwina, was a Mississippi clergyman’s daughter prone to hysterical attacks
                1. when Williams, his parents and his siblings moved out of the maternal grandparents' home, the family detorioriated
                  1. CC's drinking increased
                    1. the family moved 16 times in 10 years
                      1. the shy Williams was ostracised and taunted at school
                        1. he became close with his older sister, Rose
                          1. he loathed his father, but later decided in adult therapy that he was grateful to him for giving him a tough, survival instinct
                            1. after being bedridden for two years because of severe illness, Williams became a withdrawn, effeminate 16 year old, whose only solace was his writing
                          2. Adult life
                            1. he started a degree in journalism at the University of Missouri
                              1. his father forced him to drop out and he started working with his father for a shoe company
                                1. after 3 years, Williams had a minor nervous breakdown
                                  1. enrolled in University of Washington, and then the University of Iowa, finally graduating in 1938
                                    1. while he was in Iowa, Rose began suffering from mental illness, had a prefrontal labotomy and was left institutionalised for the rest of her life, which greatly upset Williams
                              2. following his graduation, he continued to work menial jobs, but focused on drama
                            2. A Streetcar Named Desire premiered in 1947 at the Barrymore Theatre in New York City
                              1. much of the pathos is derived from Williams' life
                                1. Alcoholism, depression, thwarted desire, loneliness, and insanity
                                  1. experiences as openly homosexual in an era disapproving of that informed work
                                  2. most memorable characters
                                    1. most of them female
                                      1. baring resemblance to Edwina and Rose
                                      2. vulgar, irresponsible male characters (Stanley) seem to be modelled on his father and other males who bullied him during his childhood
                                      3. A Streetcar Named Desire, like many of Williams' plays is set in the South of the USA
                                        1. A Streetcar Named Desire is set in the French Quarter, New Orleans
                                          1. The French Quarter, also known as the Vieux Carré, is the oldest neighborhood in the city of New Orleans
                                            1. famous for jazz clubs and the first place homosexuality was tolerated
                                              1. New Orleans is nicknamed 'The City that Care Forgot' or 'The Big Easy', with a reputation of excess and sexual freedom
                                              2. despite the specific setting, the themes of his plays are widely generalisable
                                            2. combines new American taste for realism following the Depression and WW2
                                              1. characters trying to rebuild their lives after the war
                                                1. Stanley and Mitch survived the military
                                                  1. Blanche had several affairs with soldiers based near her home
                                                2. the play represents the decline of the aristocratic families commonly associated with the South
                                                  1. the South's agricultural base could not cope with industrialisation, so once influential families lost their importance
                                                  2. show the conflict between old and new values
                                                    1. physically aggressive materialism of the new world
                                                      1. workforce radically altered to include women, black people and immigrants
                                                        1. Blanche has prejudices towards people (old values)
                                                          1. in New Orleans, everyone is accepted
                                                      2. Blanche Du Bois
                                                        1. struggling to keep up with the demands of the new world
                                                          1. her sexual freedom and dependency on men do not fit in with the behaviour of the Southern people
                                                            1. symbolises destruction of the old South
                                                            2. she represents the old, romanticised culture of the South, and Stanley represents the urban, greedy, New America
                                                              1. conflict between them represents the clash of values
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