"What's in a Name (or Title)?"

         "A Streetcar"...any kind of vehicle that travels down a road in town or village..."Named"...the term by which any person or thing is known..."Desire"...to yearn for the possession of...--I just do not understand. What do these words have to do with the book? I know that the streetcar in which Blanche took to her sister, Stella's, house was named Desire; but what does that have to do with the story? Even when one breaks the words down as I have done above, I see no connection with the play.

         A Streetcar Named Desire, written by Tennessee Williams in 1947, was an awesome play in my eyes. It is something that everyone who reads it can relate to in some way or another because it is dealing with relationships. It takes on the relationship of two sisters, a husband and his pregnant wife, a sister-in-law and a brother-in-law, a group of friends, neighbors, and two people who are falling in love. Who could not relate to this story in some way or another? The 1951 movie version, directed by Elia Kazan, was just as good as the play itself because there were very few and mainly minor differences between the two, except for the ending, when Stella (Kim Hunter) runs away from Stanley (Marlon Brando) in the movie but remains with him in the play. I liked the play and screenplay being closely related because it all seemed to fit together better after viewing the movie.

         The title is the only confusing part and would make sense only if it is just stating that the streetcar is what has brought Blanche (Vivien Leigh) to Stanley and Stella's in the first place. With her appearance, everything turned upside down; and their lives were changed forever; therefore, this first part of the title provides the theme of the book. With the word "desire" in the title, I believe that things become a little more personal with that word. The main characters in the story desired only for themselves and never really thought of what would be best for another person. For example, Stanley was always concerned about him having his way even if it meant that he was going to hurt Stella in the end, but he did not think things through.

         Punishment was on their side, however, because they were always conceited and they always got turned against or by someone else or a situation as a result. I guess they should have thought about that "Streetcar Named Desire" and thought about the destinations to which the car was headed in their individual lives.

Christina Coursey

Table of Contents