Robert Lowell Collected Poems

Coping with a Brutal World: Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire and Robert Lowell’s “Water” 11th Grade

The postmodernist writers emerged after the Second World War, and their fierce critiques of human nature showed a race that was vile and heinous at best, with Tennessee Williams’s depiction being no different. In his play A Streetcar Named Desire, Williams explores the gruesome nature of humanity’s weakness and its necessity of imagination in a world of reality filled with evil and nastiness at every corner. Blanche DuBois, a dainty Southern belle who depends on her fantasies to keep her motivated to live despite her growing age and increasing loneliness, is thrown into the unfamiliar jungle of New Orleans when her property is lost. She lives with her sister Stella and Stella’s animalistic husband Stanley while she becomes involved in the less refined and civilized life of the New Orleanians. These characters all alter their reality to some degree in order to achieve some feeling of happiness of motivation in life that keeps them alive. Robert Lowell’s poem “Water” was published in 1976 and its last three stanzas express themes supportive of those in Streetcar. Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire expresses similar themes with Robert Lowell’s “Water,” such as humanity’s instinct to eliminate threat, the importance of a...

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