stanley imagine

Mr. Siuda
McQuaid Jesuit High School, 2010-2011
English 11 Adv.
Model Expository Paragraph for Thesis Writing
Imagine I were to ask you to write a brief thesis paper about the function of Stella and Mitch in A
Streetcar Named Desire in relation to Stanley and Blanche. Imagine then, that you arrived at the
following thesis statement: The function of Stella and Mitch is thus two-fold: each highlights
his/her partner’s loneliness and selfishness. Here, then, is what one body paragraph for such an
essay might look like:
One role that both Stella and Mitch share is that each highlights the fundamental
loneliness of each character with whom he or she is paired. Consider, for instance, the deep
anxiety that Stanley begins to exhibit when he senses that Blanche may be trying to turn Stella
against him and even convince her to leave him. While Stanley begins the play a creature of
supreme confidence, he is almost reduced to the status of a desperate child in its later stages,
best exemplified in his speech to Stella during Blanche’s birthday party:
Stella, it’s gonna be all right after she goes and after you’ve had the baby. It’s gonna be
all right between you and me the way it was. You remember the way it was? Them nights
we had together? God, honey, it’s gonna be sweet when we can make noise in the night
the way that we used to and get the colored lights going with nobody’s sister behind the
curtains to hear us! (2382)
Notice the almost pathetically repetitive insistence of Stanley’s plea here, as if the possibility of life
without Stella nearly chokes off his ability to express himself. Mitch, meanwhile, has a similar
affect on Blanche. It initially appears that Mitch, himself in great need of companionship, will be
more than willing to be the safe and stable harbor in which Blanche can anchor herself. When he
learns, though, of Blanche’s salacious past, he moves to reject her, causing the fading Southern
Belle to pour out her heartbreaking need for some sort of companionship:
After the death of Allen—intimacies with strangers was all I seemed able to fill my empty
heart with…I think it was panic, just panic, that drove me from one to another, hunting for
some protection—here and there, in the most—unlikely places…My youth was suddenly
gone up the water spout, and—I met you. You said you needed somebody. Well, I
needed somebody too. I thanked God for you, because you seemed to be gentle—a cleft
in the rock of the world that I could hide in! (2386)
Given Blanche’s efforts throughout the play to mask her terrible longings and instead maintain the
façade of an elegant and demure gentlewoman, there is thus no doubting that the above
outpouring springs forth from a deep and genuine need. From these two examples, it is thus clear
that both Stella and Mitch are devices by which Willliams can get Stanley and Blanche to expose
their deep-seated fears of being alone.
While there are certainly ways the above paragraph could be improved, it retains the key
organizational steps about which we have talked and will continue to talk:
It begins with a clearly-stated topic sentence that clearly echoes and breaks down the
paper’s thesis statement.
It establishes the context for the first piece of textual evidence being used to support the
topic sentence and then provides that evidence in the form of a direct quote.
(KEY STEP!!) It then analyzes that quote, demonstrating how the quote is actually
evidence for the case the topic sentence is making
It then repeats that process with a second piece of evidence
It then restates the topic sentence, reminding the reader what the central argumentative
point of the paragraph has been