Expository Essay on "A Street Car Named Desire" by Tennessee Williams

Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, UndergraduateA, November 1996

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One of the main themes expressed by Tennessee Williams in his play, A Streetcar Named Desire, is to condemn those who display cruelty and harshness in their treatment of others, especially those who are weak and vulnerable. Three characters who demonstrate these insensitive qualities are Blanche, Mitch, and Stanley. Whether the cruelty is deliberate or not, it results in the destruction of others, both physically and mentally.

Blanche Dubois, the central victim of mistreatment in the play, was herself,

dealing out her share of insensitivities during her younger days. When Blanche was 16, she had a very handsome lover named Allan Gray. She was very much in love with him and decided to marry him. But by total surprise one night, Blanche found her lover in bed with another man. She tried to pretend that nothing had happened. However, she was unable to hold what she saw inside, and told Allan 'I saw, I know, you disgust me...'(

p.96). To Allan, Blanche seemed to be a person who accepted him for who he was in a society where homosexuals are discriminated against. What Blanche said completely devastated Allan and he found no reason to continue living. Although Blanche had no intentions of hurting Allan, enough damage was done to prompt Allan to shoot himself, his mind and body destroyed.

The harsh treatment dealt by Mitch to Blanche near the end of the play is strikingly similar to Blanche's treatment of Allan Gray. Mitch is a friend of Stanley's whom Blanche falls for during her visit to New Orleans. The relationship between Blanche and Mitch had been developing steadily. Both characters felt the need to settle down in life and both saw the image of marriage at the outcome of their relationship. It did seem as though the...