Streetcar Themes

Ani Martirossian
Slide Set by Ani Martirossian, updated more than 1 year ago
Ani Martirossian
Created by Ani Martirossian almost 4 years ago


AS level English (Streetcar) Slide Set on Streetcar Themes, created by Ani Martirossian on 02/15/2017.

Resource summary

Slide 1

    Illusion vs reality
    Primarily stems from Blanche trying to hide from her past - AO2 - Motif of light - Used throughout to highlight the fact that Blanche is scared of being exposed; the light is her reality and she is undoubtedly frightened of it from the beginning of the play, showing that she is trying her hardest to live in the illusion she has created for herself. - The light also refers to her past; she is 'fading now', and can no longer mentally cope with hiding her dishonesty. She recognises that she has created fiction around her in the present, however is too concerned with the negative consequences in reality of her actions to admit to the illusion which she has created. - This links in with the paper lantern (AO2) - she is afraid of being exposed and asks Mitch to 'put [the paper lantern] over the lightbulb'. In this case, the light represents her reality, and she is clearly worried that her continuos lies can be easily revealed. AO3 - Possible to argue that illusion vs reality is ultimately linked to the social representations in 1940s America; lower and working classes were deemed the norm and did not need to create a fantasy to live a better life. However, for the characters of Stella, Mitch and Blanche, their role in society was not enough for them to accept the harsh reality which they and other middle and upper class Americans faced during the mid 1900s. and therefore they wanted to escape the world which they had been forced to abide to. - Tennessee Williams uses this idea to create complexity in these characters and allows the audience to gradually understand the realities which the characters want to escape from - Reality of 1940s where pure masculinity filled America following the defeat of the Nazi threat meant that Stanley could comfortably live in reality; his power over everyone as the 'hound' meant he had nothing to fantasise. 

Slide 2

    AO3 - Power struggle between the Old, decaying southern plantation culture, and the new industrialising America. But, the novel also champions a nostalgia for the old southern charm which was replaced by the air of industry and efficiency which took over the country after the great depression. The main power, or power struggle, is that between Blanche and Stanley - We can argue that Stanley's role as the 'gaudy seed bearer' and 'hound' gives him the most power, and he is consequently at the top of the New Orleans social hierarchy which Williams constructs. It appears that power comes with control, and Stanley uses violence to exert his control not only over his wife and Blanche, but also to show dominance within the group of men, therefore gaining status over the Old- Southern charm. Verbal Power - We can say that Blanche's verbal sophistication gives her power of some sort over Stanley. Her use of decorated, metaphorical and cynical language is one beyond the understanding of Stanley, therefore giving her an opportunity to mentally overthrow Stanley, and take his power.WIlliams' main message about power is the superiority which men supposedly had over women. The fact that both Eunice and Stella go back to their husbands highlights the power which men had in relationships. Also the way which Williams portrays the group of men in the poker scene (plastic theatre in their 'bold primary colours') conveys the idea that they not only have more social power in the hierarchy, but also more physical dominance. 

Slide 3

    Gender and sexuality

Slide 4

    Race and Poverty
    Thesis:AO2 - A03 - The idea that the lower classes were deemed the desirable class, as the decline of the southern plantation culture meant that the upper class were deemed selfish and 

Slide 5

    AO3 - Streetcar reflects the cultural tensions that spread through America after WWII. When the play was written, the country had a national spotlight on middle and lower classes as they were those with the 'true american spirit'. Men who had returned from war were ready to settle down with their families and wives. After the war, the nation was ready to embrace the 'old fashioned' values of family and home.  AO2 - 

Slide 6

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