In “A Streetcar Named Desire,” Tennessee Williams uses many literary elements throughout his work; although, none is more prevalent than symbolism. “A Streetcar Named Desire” is about a Southern belle, Blanche Dubois, and her emotional breakdown from the desire of men. Williams uses colors, places, and music symbolically throughout his work to express his ideas and make the story a classic epitome of symbolism in American literature. Williams’ use of symbolism is seen throughout the story; although, none is more remarkable than that in reference to Blanche Dubois.
Blanch Dubois is derived from the French language; therefore, it translates into white woods. When one thinks of white one might think of pure, clean, or even safe, like an angel; whereas, when one thinks of woods one might think of dark, gloomy, or mysterious. Together “Blanche Dubois” represents an Oxymoron, or an expression with contradictory words. This is interesting because Blanche tries to portray herself as pure and clean, but she actually has a dark, gloomy, and mysterious past. Another sign of symbolism in Blanche`s background is her birthday. Blanche was born on the fifteenth of September which gives her the sign of Virgo, or that of the virgin. This is a connection between who she wants to be, but in all actuality is just verbal irony.
Blanche`s old plantation house, Bella Reve, also has a symbolic name. The term “Bella” refers to beautiful; whereas, “Reve” is dream. Back when Blanche lived at the old plantation house, she had a “beautiful dream.” She had a young poetic husband, money, and family to accompany her while she was there. Bella Reve started to “slip” through her fingers just as her emotional stability. What was once a “beautiful dream” eventually became “lost,” which is symbolic of Blanche and her emotional state. The “beautiful dream” became a horrid nightmare; thus, another creative contradiction brought into play by Williams.
After leaving Bella Reve,...