A Streetcar Named Desire Themes Essay, Research Paper
March 26, 2000
A Streetcar Named Desire: Themes
The main theme of A Streetcar Named Desire is that reflected in the characters of Blanche and Stanley. The author presents the conflict between Blanche and Stanley as well as its inevitable conclusion, to criticize the extremes people envision when they consider love.
Throughout the play Stanley is presented as a physical and brash human being. His love for Stella is evident and unquestionable. However, when further analyzed by Blanche, the relationship between Stanley and Stella loses a lot of its previous appeal. (pg 72) Even though there is definitely a tie between the couple, after Blanche criticizes Stanley, it seems to be the effect of pheromones, rather than the conscious attempt of two human beings to love. The relationship reflects a primitive and often biological desire for humans to be together simply for the purposes of procreation. The baby which Stella is expecting further enforces this idea. The arrival of this child, according to Stanley, will result in a return to the animal-like love Stella and he shared. (pg 108)
Blanche, the opposite end of the spectrum, is also a tool in the author s hands. With an air of aristocracy and high class about her, Blanche represents the spiritual love so many people envision as perfect. Relying on illusion and lies, Blanche creates a seemingly perfect world about her. Unfortunately this perfection is based on nothing other than imagination and fancy. When confronted with the truth Blanche cannot deal with it. This is shown first by her arrival in New Orleans after her illusions had been shattered in Laurel, and later, when she goes insane when confronted with her past. Blanches begins to rely on emotional love after she falls for a young man who is unable to reciprocate her feelings. The impossibility of a physical relationship between Blanche and her husband leads him to commit suicide. While Blanche envisioned herself in a relationship, there was actually nothing there; by showing the disastrous consequences of pure emotional love the author indicates that a balance between the spiritual and physical must be found.
The conflict between the two extremes is further emphasized by the way in which the characters are presented. Both Stanley and Blanche are human. They re composed of both good and bad qualities. Despite their ability to understand and think both these characters cling to their pre-established values. The author uses their convictions to show how both extremes simply lead to pain and destruction. True love can only be found between the two extremes and because everyone is a mixture of good and bad qualities this middle ground should not be difficult to find, yet sometimes we are blind to it.