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[Read Kindle] Ì A Streetcar Named Desire é The story of Blanche DuBois and her last grasp at happiness, and of Stanley Kowalski, the one who destroyed her chance There s a sort of invisible thread from Madame Bovary to A Streetcar Named Desire, which in its route gets tied up in a hot whorehouse and wraps vainly around the cosmetics section of a pharmacy in the Southern United States before knotting at its terminus in New Orleans I find it almost criminal how often people mistake Blanche duBois whimsy for female frailty, for I think she is an almost unnaturally strong character far, far so than her timid sister Stella Perhaps it is because her fo There s a sort of invisible thread from Madame Bovary to A Streetcar Named Desire, which in its route gets tied up in a hot whorehouse and wraps vainly around the cosmetics section of a pharmacy in the Southern United States before knotting at its terminus in New Orleans I find it almost criminal how often people mistake Blanche duBois whimsy for female frailty, for I think she is an almost unnaturally strong character far, far so than her timid sister Stella Perhaps it is because her foil, and diametric opposite, Stanley is so much so the iron casting of masculine strength and violence, that make Blanche seem to the reader viewer so relatively weak But the play is dominated by the very different strengths of these enormous characters Stanley s violent force and Blanche s imaginative power.Blanche, like her French bourgeois predecessor, Emma Bovary, has an old fashioned ideal of romance which she cannot reconcile with her amorous experiences Unlike Emma, Blanche has a muchsordid history, and as a result has become the battleground between her vain illusions and her knowing disillusionment Having fallen in love with a gay boy in her youth, who subsequently died, she sought love in the many men of the local army camp, living a prostitute s kind of life, and even had an affair with a young male student, until she lost her family estate, Belle Reve presumably from belle r ve, french for beautiful dream and appropriately a common name for sanitariums, along with belle vue which she lost to debtors Blanche s world her home, her job, her love or search therefor , everything, she loses, and flees her soiled reputation to live with her sister Stella and her husband Stanley Kowalski She has a passionate imagination, which is her last remaining crutch of her fragile sanityI don t want realism I want magic Yes, yes, magic I try to give that to people I misrepresent things to them I don t tell the truth, I tell what ought to be the truth And it that s sinful, then let me be damned for itHer desperation for romance, for magic, in her life is the only avenue remaining for her escape That s what Streetcar Names Desire is about escape Escape from the shameful past, drinking to escape from the dully painful present, and escape from the violent future Blanche eventually retreats fully into her own self delusions of romantic escape when her past creeps unexpectedly into the present.The story of Stella and Stanley is a time creep of the opposite orientation Stella is made aware of the dangers and disturbances of a future with Stanley by the mistreatment of her sister Stella sheds her luxurious tears at the the curtain close as a rueful acknowledgement of the tension between reality and illusion While she cannot fully believe Blanche s story, she cannot bring herself to fully deny it either Her vision of Stanley, of her sister, and of her life spread out ahead of her are forever changed by what has transpired Though she stays with Stanley, her relationship with him is tainted with something of mistrust and fear.Illusion in the play, the main funhouse mirror, is the illusion of appearance Everything has a surface and an interior, and there is a struggle, a contradiction, between the veneer of appearance and the truth of substance Blanche becomes obsessed with her appearance, rather than reconciling herself with the maelstrom of emotion and fear which boils beneath the surface, she suffocates her own Self by the feint play of her made up appearance She has an imagination which approaches prolepsis in its improvisational fervor She always has a lie, a fraud, a gloss over for the truth which is black inside of her She is fearful of the light, which not only shows her aging appearance, signs of aging she she cannot cover up, but is also symbolic for the truths which are rising like slag to the surface, revealing the cold worn metal beneath What she cannot escape is that the world does not have the magic which she seeks, the most powerful force around her is truth, and it is truth which she feels she needs to escape The tension between truth and magic eventually destroys her psyche.For Stanley, escape, illusion, is obtained through vice drinking, gambling, domestic abuse and violence His fears of incompetence and undeserving are evaded through his violent actions, which both evade questioning yet also show his hand He is mirrored man to Blanche, and she the revealing pier glass to him Because they are so opposed, they reveal the truths in each other s characters Stanley s violence is incompatible with Blanche s romantic visions of the world, particularly her vision of men In Stanley she seems a savage character, almost like the stock ruffian of a Spanish romance, but one which is violent even to her, which is violent in its uncovering of her secrets one which is deliberately cruel This deliberate cruelty on the part of Stanley is something which Blanche finds the only thing not forgivable and the only thing which has the true power to shatter her war worn illusions For Stanley, Blanche represents the world which shares his wife, but which he fears has a stronger, atavistic claim on her He can never offer Stella money or blissful security, he can never offer her culture Blanche is the very manifestation of these ideals, and her romantic vision of the world is alluring to all around her, her imaginative power is a danger to Stanley s marriage, because it is a reminded to him and to Stella of the kind of life which they can never have with each otherThey told me to take a street car named Desire, and transfer to one called Cemeteries, and ride six blocks and get off at Elysian FieldsDesire and death the only ways to reach paradise He is of medium height, about five feet eight or nine, and strongly, compactly built Animal joy in his being is implicit in all his movements and attitudes Since earliest manhood the center of his life has been pleasure with women, the giving and taking of it, not with weak indulgence, dependency, but with the power and pride of a richly feathered male bird among hens Branching out from this complete and satisfying center are all the auxiliary channels of his life, such as his heartiness He is of medium height, about five feet eight or nine, and strongly, compactly built Animal joy in his being is implicit in all his movements and attitudes Since earliest manhood the center of his life has been pleasure with women, the giving and taking of it, not with weak indulgence, dependency, but with the power and pride of a richly feathered male bird among hens Branching out from this complete and satisfying center are all the auxiliary channels of his life, such as his heartiness with men, his appreciation of rough humor, his love of good drink and food and games, his car, his radio, everything that is his, that bears his emblem of the gaudy seed bearer He sizes women up at a glance, with sexual classifications, crude images flashing into his mind and determining the way he smiles at them Stanley Kowalski is the male equivalent of Faulkner s Dewey Dell who proclaims I feel like a wet seed wild in the hot blind earth Here is raw, primal, lustful sexuality that pulses and seduces a reader or audience Stell lahhhhh The poker scene was made famous by Brando s performance and Kazan s brilliant direction, but before the 1951 award winning film was Tennessee Williams masterful scene of primitive love and attraction I ve always depended on the kindness of strangers Blanche DuBois is an archetypal feminine tragic figure on the literary scale with Hemingway s Lady Brett But whereas Brett is the domineering, tyrannical alpha female, Blanche s contribution to our dramatic culture is of the damaged, broken woman, heir to an inheritance that is literally and metaphorically lost.Tennessee Williams New Orleans play, with the blue piano and polka music playing in the background is one our most powerful dramas.A must read, but like all plays, it must also be seen 2018 I watched the 1951 film recently and was again amazed at the theatrical tension the play produces, especially when acted out by such talented actors Interestingly, and sadly, Vivian Leigh, who suffered from bipolar disorder, later in life had trouble distinguishing her real life from that of her character Blanche DuBois Also, Leigh was paidthan Brando for her performance Both had previously played these roles on the stage It is the steamy summer in New Orleans in the late 1940s Old war buddies have gone to their weekly bowling league after work Meanwhile, young brides pass the time in their two flat apartment while waiting for their husbands to return It is amidst this backdrop that begins Tennessee Williams classic play, A Streetcar Named Desire, which still stands the test of time today and became a classic film featuring Marlon Brando and Jessica Tandy This steamy play ran the gamut of human emotions, and It is the steamy summer in New Orleans in the late 1940s Old war buddies have gone to their weekly bowling league after work Meanwhile, young brides pass the time in their two flat apartment while waiting for their husbands to return It is amidst this backdrop that begins Tennessee Williams classic play, A Streetcar Named Desire, which still stands the test of time today and became a classic film featuring Marlon Brando and Jessica Tandy This steamy play ran the gamut of human emotions, and for this I rate it 4 stars Tennessee Williams introduced the world to characters who have become archetypes for the post war 1940s Stella Kowalski, a young bride expecting her first child, who is very much in love with her husband and submits to his every want and need Her husband, Stanley Kowalski, a war veteran working in a supply company to provide for his wife, and still feeling the need to gather with the men bowling or playing poker after work Harold Mitchell Mitch the bachelor son who looks after his sickly mother And, of course, the sultry Blanche DuBois, Stella s sister of an undetermined age, the independent, modern woman, who also has a myriad of problems Blanche DuBois, fresh off of another failure, has taken a streetcar named Desire to spend the summer with Stella and Stanley Kowalski in their one bedroom apartment Heightened sexually whereas Stella is submissive, there is obvious tension between Blanche and Stanley from the beginning, with Stella acting as a go between Not only is there tension, Stanley immediately sees beyond Blanche s gaudy clothes and jewelry and sets out to investigate her past With only a sheet separating their living arrangements in a sweltering summer, the tension continues to escalate throughout the play As Stanley discovers layer upon layer of Blanche s past, Stella is forced to choose between her dominate husband and sister While very much in love with her husband, as she points out, she still feels a loyalty to her sister and to her past She is appalled when her husband reveals that Blanche compromised her role as high school English teacher to engage in inappropriate relationships with her students If this play had taken place thirty years later, I can believe that Stella would have done some digging of her own to clear Blanche s name Yet, it is clear that Stella s loyalties lie with her husband, and that what makes the denouement of the play all theshocking for me, as I am sure it did for many others as well Tennessee Williams went on to have a hall of fame career as a playwright, including the classics Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and The Glass Menagerie, which have been performed hundreds if not thousands of times over the years He also was ahead of his time in Desire by discussing social issues such as homosexual relationships, domestic violence and a woman s monetary independence from her husband While not my absolute favorite play, A Streetcar Named Desire introduced classic characters, and I look forward to seeing them portrayed on film Whoa.I did not consume this play as I was intended to I mean, honestly, you re not supposed to read a play Tell that to any high school English teacher ever, but still Tennessee Williams didn t write this like Hopefully in sixty years a girl will read this alone in her room in one sitting so she can fulfill her goal of reading a classic every month That s not his ideal.That being said.THIS MADE ME FEEL SO MUCH.A play is supposed to be acted, obviously Reading it leads to a less emotional Whoa.I did not consume this play as I was intended to I mean, honestly, you re not supposed to read a play Tell that to any high school English teacher ever, but still Tennessee Williams didn t write this like Hopefully in sixty years a girl will read this alone in her room in one sitting so she can fulfill her goal of reading a classic every month That s not his ideal.That being said.THIS MADE ME FEEL SO MUCH.A play is supposed to be acted, obviously Reading it leads to a less emotional rendering, with less full characters, in an imagined version of what is supposed to be a concrete setting It s a lesser experience like reading a screenplay Cough cough, f ck you JK Rowling, cough And still this was incredible Blanche and Stella and Mitch were heart rending There s so much tension here, and the revelations and the moments of climax and action are just unreal I don t even know what to say beyond whoa.Guess I should ve stopped this review after the first word.Bottom line FANTASTIC FANTASTIC FANTASTIC This reading a classic a month thing is the best thing I m doing this year