a guide that is specific to the test.

A Streetcar Named Desire
Study Resources
Setting: Elysian Fields in New Orleans
o This is a mythological allusion (know what an allusion is). What does it
mean? Why is it ironic?
Setting: New Orleans
o What was significant about this city at that time? Why would it be a place
that would be comfortable for Williams?
How did Blanche lose Belle Reve?
Symbols: package of meat, paper lantern and light bulb, love letters and financial
papers, Blanche’s trunk and the things in it, white clothes
Themes: New South vs. Old South (who represents what?); Reality vs. Illusion; the
relationship between death and desire; women’s dependence on men
Why does Stanley not like Blanche (particularly at the beginning)?
What does Blanche say about Stanley when she speaks “plainly” about him?
Where did Blanche actually stay when she lost Belle Reve? Where did Stanley tell
Mitch she had stayed?
Lit Devices
“casting my pearl before swine” – this comes from the Bible. What is the literary device
used when someone refers to another work?
“just as plump as a little partridge”
Quotes from the Packet
1. “You all are married. But I’ll be alone when she goes.” The speaker is Mitch. He’s relating
the other men’s marriages to the relationship with his mother. He’s somewhat of a
“momma’s boy,” but he is also a foil to Stanley in that he’s sensitive and caring.
2. “…After all, a woman’s charm is fifty percent illusion.” The speaker is Blanche. She likes to
keep up the illusion of being charming, young, and lady-like.
3. “I can hardly stand it when he is away for a night…When he’s away for a week I nearly go
wild!” The speaker is Stella. She’s dependent on Stanley; their relationship is based
very much on physical attraction and co-dependence, which is why Stella turns a
blind eye to Stanley’s faults.
4. “I pulled you down off them columns and how you loved it…” The speaker is Stanley. He’s
reminding Stella that he took her away from the monotony of her life at Belle Reve
and brought her down to his level. She loved it because it was everything her
previous life was not (thrilling, spontaneous, raucous)
5. “You’re not clean enough to bring in the house with my mother.” The speaker is Mitch. He
says this to Blanche in Scene 9 after she admits to everything Stanley had told him
about her past. He tries to have sex with her, and she says she will if he marries her.
This is his response.
6. “We’ve had this date with each other from the beginning!” The speaker is Stanley at the
end of Scene 10. He is speaking to Blanche, basically justifying what he’s about to do –
rape her. In his mind, they have had sexual tension from the beginning because she
flirts with him and has not allowed him to exert his power over her the way he has
with Stella.
7. “Whoever you are – I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”
Speaker: The speaker is Blanche. She says this at the end of the play to the doctor who
is taking her to the state hospital. Blanche has had “many intimacies” with strangers
in her past. She is dependent on other people and can’t stand being alone. She also
doesn’t allow many people, specifically men, to get close to her because once they do,
they run the other way.