A Streetcar's Relevance

         Elia Kazan's 1951 film, A Streetcar Named Desire, based on Tennessee William's 1947 play, grabbed and really held my attention. A movie and/or play engulfs and audience if the viewers can identify with the storyline, plot, and actors and actresses. A Streetcar Named Desire was a favorite of more than half the class, and I believe that makes it more relevant today than any of the other films. A few reasons why I think viewers from the modern time identify more with A Streetcar Named Desire are the living situation, the use of sarcasm by Stanley Kowalski played by Marlon Brando, the shallow view of love, girls' understanding Stella's love for Stanley, and guys' understanding Stanley's male-dominating personality. Of course audiences understand and identify with Blanch DuBois because everyone knows, if they are not already, someone that is a little crazy.

         Most normal people do not throw themselves into another person's home without giving an explanation of how long and why beforehand, but Blanche made herself right at home. More and more people are living with family members until they get older it seems today. The living situation between Blanche, Stella, and Stanley does not appear as awkward as it might have when the movie was made. Living with parents or siblings is becoming the norm. I hear of post-college students moving back in with their parents, people who do not go to college never moving out of their parents' homes, and husbands and wives with children living with one set of their parents.

         Another reason for this movie's relevance is Stanley's sarcasm. Most old movies do not portray sarcasm in this manner. It may not have even been the way it way written as much as it is the way Marlon Brando played Stanley. It is almost a mean sarcasm. It is especially evident when Stanley clears his place at the dinner table by throwing his dishes and then asking Stella if she needs her place cleared. That was brilliant. It looked like a line from a modern movie. I understand the character Stanley because I am a sarcastic person myself. I try to find humor in most situations, and I associate the time of the making of this movie as a more serious time. Or maybe it is the same things, I would not think, would be funny. It is like British comedy as in it just is not as funny as American.

         Today's view of love also has some similarities. The view is shallow. Everyone thinks it will be this crazy unexplainable feeling that never ends. Stella tells Blanche that she "can hardly stand it when he is away for a night…and when he comes back I cry on his lap like a baby." She seems to be infatuated, not in love. Their relationship is also shallow because of its basis on outward appearances and intimacy. Many relationships today are based on the same things.

         Stella loves Stanley's looks, which is understandable, but also loves his ability to control and manipulate her. I believe women today would understand Stella's so-called love for Stanley. Many men have a way of having that hold on girls, and the sad thing is we kind of like it. It makes us feel important and needed.

         On the other side of that guys can identify with Stanley's very male-like personality. He is a guy in every aspect of the word. He hands with the guys, controls like a guy, knows it all and everyone like guys think they do, and is selfish like a guy. He wants to have his cake and eat it to. I am sure that is not a new found idea. Guys have always been like that, and continue to be. Guys understand Stanley for that reason; they are like him.

         All in all A Streetcar Named Desire is relevant today for many reasons. It is relevant for guys and girls in today's society and relevant to society as a whole.

Jennifer Enoch

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