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A Streetcar named Desire by Tennessee Williams

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1 A Streetcar named Desire by Tennessee Williams
Kelso High School A Streetcar named Desire by Tennessee Williams

2 Scene Four Although this scene is short it is very important in the drama. Why?

3 Turning Point Turning Point -

4 Why is Scene 4 the turning point?
When Stanley returning home unheard by either Blanche or Stella overhears Blanche’s condemnation of him, it is clear that Blanche’s fate is now sealed as Stanley will only rest when she is completely removed from his life

5 Why is Scene 4 the turning point?
By the end of this scene the audience is now aware that Stella has chosen Stanley over Blanche, a decision which leaves Stanley triumphant and Blanche isolated

6 Why is Scene 4 the turning point?
Finally the scene introduces the metaphor of the streetcar. This in itself suggests that there is now no turning back for Blanche and that she is now headed for disaster

7 Characterisation:Blanche
Blanche tells Stella that sheer desire is no basis for a marriage. She invokes the streetcar, “that bangs through the Quarter, up one old narrow street and down another” as a metaphor for what she believes Stella feels Blanche fails to understand Stella’s passionate relationship with her husband. It seems that with all her sexual experience she has never experienced true love

8 Characterisation: Blanche
Stella asks whether Blanche has ever ridden the streetcar. Blanche replies, “It brought me here, where I’m not wanted and where I’m ashamed to be……” This is true both literally and metaphorically. Literally, it was indeed a streetcar named “Desire” which brought her to Stella’s. Metaphorically, Stella, Stanley and Mitch soon learn that Blanche’s search for sexual desire led to her expulsion from Laurel, while her family’s need to shroud desire and cover up “epic fornications” led to the break-up of the Belle Reve estate and the impoverishment of the present generation

9 Characterisation: Blanche
This scene also reveals Blanche to be entirely calculating when it comes to relations with men, “I think of money in terms of what it does for you” Blanche’s threat to “laugh in Stella’s face” if Stella tries to claim that her attraction to Stanley is just “one of those electric things” shows that Blanche does not truly believe in love. Throughout the play she claims to possess romantic notions but this scene reveals her to be a cold cynic

10 Characterisation: Blanche
Scene Four also contains one of Blanche’s most famous speeches in which she describes how human kind has evolved too far past the beast that Stanley represents for Stella to reduce herself to his level, “There’s even something – sub-human - something not quite to the stage of humanity”

11 Characterisation: Stella
Although Stella technically condemns Stanley’s propensity for violence, it is clear that his violent nature heightens Stella’s desire for him e.g. she finds the light bulb incident on their honeymoon “thrilling” The stage directions at the beginning of the scene which liken Stella’s face after a night with Stanley to an “Eastern idol” suggest that there is something mystical about their relationship

12 Characterisation: Stella
Stella has lost patience with Blanche’s hysterical plans and her irritation shows in her dry, ironical comments. She begins to resent her sister’s disapproval and harsh criticism of Stanley Indeed the difference in the sisters’ attitudes to passion, shows that despite their common background and social values, they are very different characters and this influences Stella’s decision to choose Stanley, “I’m not in anything I have a desire to get out of” and “Stella has embraced him with both arms, fiercely and in full view of Blanche”

13 Characterisation : Stanley
Having overheard Blanche’s condemnation of him as a “brute” and as an “ape-man”, Stanley now has even more reason to dislike Blanche and an even greater wish to find a way to get rid of her. His “triumphant grin” at the close of the scene promises ill for Blanche

14 Stagecraft The use of the locomotion is clever as its noise means that Stella and Blanche are unaware that Stanley has returned. It also symbolises the idea of fate as once Stanley overhears Blanche’s condemnation of him, her fate is now sealed and he will not rest until she is gone The constant sound of the Blue Piano symbolises sadness and loss. It plays again at the moment that Stella chooses Stanley

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