A Streetcar Ahead of Its Time

         This tale of aggression, frustration, and human desires is literature ahead of its time. In his 1947 play, A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams was able to grasp the dark qualities each of us possesses. He boldly touched those forbidden topics that are offensive and yet intriguing all at the same time. In the 1951 film, directed by Elia Kazan, Brando's character, Stanley, brings great tension to every moment and works as a catalyst throughout the story. His demeanor is a harsh contrast to the demure personalities of Blanche and Stella as effectively played by Vivien Leigh and Kim Hunter.

         One has to wonder, as much turmoil as Blanche brought along with her, what might have happened to Stella had Blanche not came along. While Blanche was a frivolous southern belle with many disillusions on life, she was quick to pick up on the frightening characteristics that made her brother-in-law such a brutal individual.

         While Blanche and Stanley seemed on the surface to be polar opposites, in many ways they were very similar. Just as Blanche was able to "pull the wool over the eyes of others" in order to get her way, Stanley had very similarly fooled Stella. She truly believed that he loved and cared for her as no one else could. And, as Stanley had control over Stella through physical domination, Blanche used psychological dominion to work her men like puppets. However, in the end, we see that Stanley proved to be the most dominant of all.

         I felt that the ending in the film did Tennessee Williams a total injustice. He knew that a woman in Stella's position would most likely not leave after all she had dealt with in the past. In fact, Blanche was not the only one with great psychological disillusions. Stella allowed her husband to beat er up, even while she was pregnant, and yet she continued to go back. As a whole, I felt that Williams was a brilliant writer much ahead of his time, who was fearless in writing of his passions and desires.

Ashley Roberts

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