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Kelso High School English Department A Streetcar named Desire – Scene One.

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Presentation on theme: "Kelso High School English Department A Streetcar named Desire – Scene One."— Presentation transcript:

1 Kelso High School English Department A Streetcar named Desire – Scene One

2 Characterisation- Blanche

3 Blanche is initially portrayed in a negative manner. She comes across as a frivolous, hysterical, insensitive and self-obsessed individual who derides her sister’s lesser social status From early on in the play we are made aware of Blanche’s craving for drink, though her attempts to disguise her drinking immediately portray her as dishonest

4 Blanche Dubois Blanche is also portrayed as being aware of social distinctions. She is offhand with both Eunice and the neighbour. To Blanche these women are not being kind, they are simply behaving in the way Blanche would expect her social inferiors to behave. Her attitude towards these women foreshadows her condemnation of Stella’s way of life and therefore implicitly her husband

5 Blanche Dubois Another aspect of Blanche’s character revealed in this scene is her vanity and her need of flattery. Blanche is afraid of growing old and losing her looks. She relies on flattery to banish these terrors Blanche is clearly vulnerable, yet she is very much the older sister, treating Stella as a child and expecting her to run errands. Her superficiality and her haughtiness portray her in a negative light in the minds of the audience

6 Characterisation - Stanley

7 Stanley Kowalski Though we do not see much of Stanley in this scene, he definitely makes an impact The description contained within the stage direction “gaudy seed-bearer” conveys his sexual magnetism and his masculinity His entrance with the package of meat symbolises his primitive qualities as it is if he were bringing it back to his cave fresh from the kill

8 Stanley Kowalski Stanley’s cocky interactions with Blanche show him to be insensitive as he barely lets Blanche get a word in edgeways as he quickly assesses her beauty Yet, the audience is more likely to sympathise with Stanley rather than Blanche as his unpretentiousness and zest for life contrasts sharply with her snobbish values

9 Stanley Kowalski His entrance also underscores the intense sexual bond between himself and Stella He yells “Catch” as he throws the package. A moment later the Negro woman shouts “Catch what?” Eunice and the Negro woman see something sexual and hilarious in Stanley’s act of tossing the meat to a breathlessly delighted Stella

10 Setting - New Orleans

11 Setting New Orleans is immediately portrayed as a cosmopolitan city where all races mingle freely. Here blacks mingle with whites and members of ethnic groups play poker and bowl together. This is the changing face of the new America, clearly represented by the character of Stanley

12 Setting Elysian Fields is the name of the rundown street. The irony is obvious as in classical mythology Elysian Fields are the equivalent of paradise or the home of the blessed dead The irony is continued in the fact that Stanley is clearly at home in Elysian Fields, but the Kowalskis’ home and neighbourhood are certainly not Blanche’s idea of heaven

13 Setting - The Apartment

14 Setting Throughout scene one the windows and door of the apartment are left open. This symbolises the way in which Stanley and the others leave everything out in the open Belle Reve which is the name of the Dubois family’s former plantation translates as “beautiful dream”. This is appropriate as the “dream” is now all that remains of it

15 Setting

16 Stage Directions The blue piano music is used to symbolise the Elysian Fields area of New Orleans The polka music (that only Blanche and the audience can hear) is obviously important and its importance is made clear in Scene 6

17 Stage Directions Williams’ directions are precise in their use of imagery and contrast sharply with the language used by most of the characters on the stage ( with the exception of Blanche and Stella). They therefore serve to underline the uneducated speech of most of the people on the stage. In contrast Blanche’s quotation from Poe’s poem reminds us that she is an English teacher

18 Stage Directions The stage directions are also used to draw our attention to the two main characters – Blanche and Stanley Remember Blanche’s arrival as though “dressed for a garden party” and her fluttering manner reminding us of a moth Remember Stanley’s description as “the gaudy seed bearer”

19 Blanche / Stanley

20 Symbolism/Imagery Blanche’s white clothes ironically suggest virginal connotations Blanche’s constant drinking symbolises her inability to cope with reality and her desire to forget the past Blanche’s representation as aristocratic and sensitive symbolises the old South Blanche hearing the Polka symbolises her thinking about her dead husband Blanche’s obsession with her appearance symbolises her inability to cope with reality. We all become old and lose our looks

21 Symbolism/Imagery Stanley’s animal sexuality is symbolised by numerous stage directions Stanley’s butcher’s package symbolises blood, danger, violence and his primitive qualities Stanley’s characterisation being brash, loud and arrogant is symbolic of the New South

22 Symbolism/Imagery The music of the blue piano symbolises the vitality and pleasure of the French Quarter of New Orleans The cramped apartment is symbolic of all the characters being thrown together and the claustrophobic lives they lead

23 Well-done!!!


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