"A streetcar named desire" by Tenessee Williams.

Essay by lolita76 June 2004

download word file, 7 pages 4.3

Downloaded 81 times

Tennessee Williams was once quoted as saying "Symbols are

nothing but the natural speech of drama...the purest

language of plays" (Adler 30). This is clearly evident in "

A Streetcar Named Desire", one of Williams's many plays. I

n analyzing the main character of the story, Blanche

DuBois, it is crucial to use both the literal text as well

as the symbols of the story to get a complete and thorough

understanding of her.

Before one can understand Blanche's character, one must

understand the reason why she moves to New Orleans and

joins her sister, Stella, and brother-in-law, Stanley. By

analyzing the symbolism in the first scene, one can

understand what prompted Blanche to move. Her appearance in

the first scene "suggests a moth" (Williams 96). In

literature a moth represents the soul, so it is possible to

see her entire voyage as the journey of her soul (Quirino

63). Later in the same scene she describes her voyage:

"They told me to take a streetcar named Desire, and then

transfer to one called Cemeteries and ride six blocks and

get off at Elysian Fields" (Quirino 63). Taken literally

this does not seam to add much to the story; however, if

one investigate Blanche's past one, can truly understand

what this quotation symbolizes. Blanche left her home to

join her sister, because her life was a miserable wreck in

her former place of residence. She admits, at one point in

the story, that "after the death of Allan (her husband)

intimacies with strangers was all I seemed able to fill my

empty heart with" (Williams, 178). She had sexual relations

with anyone who would agree to it. This is the first step

in her voyage-"Desire". She said that she was forced into

this situation because death was immanent and...