A Streetcar Named Desire

Duality in the Opening of A Streetcar Named Desire 12th Grade


The theme of contrast is key to A Streetcar Named Desire as it is so obviously displayed in every aspect of the play. Most importantly, Blanche is in a stark contrast with Stanley – a contrast which ends up being very problematic – and there is also the uncomfortable contrast between Blanche’s shining expectations and the reality she is faced with. The dualism with which we are first faced is that of the surroundings Blanche Dubois finds herself in. The scene Williams first describes is exceedingly romantic: “The sky… is a peculiarly tender blue, almost turquoise” and “the infatuated fluency of brown fingers”. This alliteration heightens the poetic nature of his writing at this point, thereby increasing the image of an idyllic environment. The quirky and up-beat atmosphere of New Orleans (which would undoubtedly have been uncomfortable to Blanche, being such a contrast to the surroundings she is used to) is highlighted by Williams’s description of the music; the forward thinking manner of the place is shown through the way acceptance between black and white people is portrayed, for example the “banana and coffee” show a willingness to adopt things foreign and exotic. Williams also creates a sense of vibrancy and vitality,...

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