A streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire
Scene Two
Terminology and Literary Concepts
1. Blanche tells Stanley ‘Everything I own is in that trunk’, making the prop a
symbol of her life and even of herself. In view of this, what does Stanley”s
violation of the trunk reveal about his character? After you have read scene
ten, apply the literary concept of foreshadowing to this reading.
2. Blanche tells Stella that they have to ‘go on without Belle Reve to protect us
…’ Here, Belle Reve has come to symbolise more than just a former home.
Read over your definition of allegory again and explain what the symbolic
estate represents to Blanche, to the play and to America.
1. Stanley’s first line in Scene 1 introduces a theme of gambling in the play.
Make notes on the references to gambling in scene two and your thoughts on
the significance of this theme to the play.
2. Draw an image of Blanche on a blank piece of paper and surround the image
with quotations, from scenes one and two, which reveal her character.
Critical Understanding
1. During Stanley’s interrogation of Stella about the loss of Belle Reve, his style
shifts to a more formal, elevated style. Record some relevant quotes. What
does this shift reveal about his character?
2. Stanley`s nomination of Stella as ‘baby’ as he attempts to ‘enlighten’ her
could be seen as a term of endearment, but could also be said to reveal his
attitude towards her. What is your own interpretation of this term of address
from Stanley?
3. Williams reveals both Stanley’s ignorance and gift for hyperbole in his
description of Blanche’s possessions: ‘ a solid gold dress’; ‘Genuine fox-fur
pieces, a half a mile long …’. What impression is created of Stanley through
his use of imagery and repetition while he investigates Blanche’s trunk?
4. Structurally, how does Williams reveal the tragedy of Blanche’s marriage.
Take a note of how and when Williams lets the circumstances of Allan’s death
be known and how he deliberately engages the audience.
5. Consider Williams’ inclusion of the tamale vendor’s voice overlapping
Blanche’s at the the end of this scene. What could be the connotations and
significance of his choice of the ‘blue piano’ that ends the scene.
Socio-Historic Context
Stella’s reference to Stanley as ‘a different species’ in scene one seems to be influenced by
Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species (1859) which provides evidence for the ‘survival of the
fittest’ within a framework of evolutionary biology. Blanche’s later accepts that Stanley could
be: ‘…what we need to mix with our blood now that we’ve lost Belle Reve.’ In this line
Blanche seems to accept the need to adapt for survival and recognises the difficulty of living
in the modern world without Stanley’s hard, uncompromising survival spirit.