Catalyst for Destruction

         A Streetcar Named Desire, a play written in 1947 by Tennessee Williams, was adapted into a film version by Elia Kazan. The 1951 film is a gritty and intriguing tale of depression, conflict and lies all webbed around the story's catalyst Blanche DuBois, played by Vivien Leigh.

         Blanche is an extremely intriguing and antagonistic character. She lives in the glory of her youth as a beautiful, well-off southern belle, whose life has now crumbled into a heap of regrets, guilt and tragedy. The vulnerable woman has carried the grief and guilt of the suicide of her boy husband and has been denied solace and lover ever since. The lonesomeness from the lost of her husband, along with the witnessing of the sickening deaths of her family members, has compounded upon her and weighs heavily on her aging persona.

         As her life passes her by, she continually attempts to fill the empty void in her life in the search for love. She desperately turns to acts of promiscuity in order to fulfill her loneliness that will eventually curse her life forever when her past comes back to haunt her during her last chance at love.

         The lonely, desperate Blanche is forced to intrude upon the life of the only person she has left in the world, her sister, Stella (Kim Hunter). Blanche is somewhat resentful of her because Stella had left the home and made a life for herself, while she stayed with the family at Belle Reve and had watched her life decay just like the bodies of her dying family members.

         Blanche's presence places a strain on Stella and her relationship with her husband, Stanley (Marlon Brando). The conflict level rises slowly until finally everyone's world explodes. Stanley ravishes Blanche and leaves her a shell of a human, drowning in vulnerability and insanity; as his marriage crumbles but survives in a fashion in the play but collapses in ruins in the movie.

         This story is about how the conflicting personalities of three individuals--Stanley, Stella, and Blanche, can be catalysts of destruction to the lives of everyone involved.

Jemekka Stray

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