A Streetcar Named Desire

The Wolf's Jaws: Brutality and Abandonment in A Streetcare Named Desire

"A Streetcar Named Desire" is a story of damaged people. Blanche DuBois, a repressed and sexually warped Southern belle, seeks either atonement or reassurance; she wants someone to help lift the burden of her guilt for her twisted sexuality. Meanwhile, Stanley Kowalski, a horrifyingly abusive yet unexpectedly tender "common man," seems to be crying out for help in a post-World War II world where all he has to offer are his "common" brutishness and his rough love. The visible troubles of these maimed characters tend, however, to hide the more fundamental crimes of Stella Kowalski, the spectator who watches her husband destroy her sister's life. In observing Blanche's torment and Stanley's cruelty, and ultimately making the decision that throws Blanche into the jaws of her worst nightmare and affirms the triumph of "animals" like Stanley, her transgression is less discernible--but it is also much graver.

From the beginning of the play, Stella pretends Blanche's obvious anguish is invisible to her. In Scene One, their first meeting, Blanche is visibly distraught, even in her first words to Stella, saying, "I thought you would never come back to this horrible place! What...

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