Drama texts are numerous and varied, each with its own special characteristics. They can tell a story, evoke emotions, inform, warn and educate readers as well. Many drama texts have an underlying purpose that the writer uses his tools of characters, setting, plotline and symbolism to portray. Tennessee Williams’ play A Streetcar Named Desire, uses the characters of Blanche, Stanley and Stella to highlight its social purpose, picking up on the traditional gender roles and the conflicts they lead to, and a cultural purpose of informing the reader about how society was changing, perhaps for the worst, all the while informing and educating as well.
• The cultural purpose achieved through the portrayal of S + B is to educate the reader about the changing culture in that post WW2 American era + show the stark differences of the old and new.
• Upon arrival Blanche’s appearance is described as, “incongruous to this setting. She is daintily dressed in a white suite with a fluffy bodice, necklace and ear-rings of peal, white gloves and hat”.
• This description represents the old southern culture – restrained, proper and above all wealth, status and appearance oriented. The connotations of the words “dainty” and “fluffy,” highlight the importance of a woman to be feminine and valued for their appearance. Repetition of the colour white symbolises the purity and innocence of women that was stereotypical in the old south. The beginning also foreshadows the downfall of Blanche’ and her “old ways”, she doesn’t fit in and belong already, times are changing.
• Stanley on the other hand is described as being animalistic, dominant and predatory by nature. This is illustrated in the opening scene when his character is first introduced upon arriving home when he “bellows – “Hey there Stella, Baby!” and heaves the package at her.” Later on “Stanley Kowalski – survivor of the stone age! Bearing raw meat home from the kill in the jungle.”
• The action...