A Streetcar Named Desire

Loneliness and Isolation in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ and ‘Brooklyn’ 12th Grade

Loneliness and isolation are themes explored in various differing ways throughout Tennessee William’s play ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ (1947) and Colm Toibin’s novel ‘Brooklyn’ (2009), mainly through the way their protagonists are presented and developed.

In ‘Brooklyn’ and ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’, loneliness is caused by the changes in culture and location each protagonist faces. In ‘Brooklyn’, Toibin depicts how Eilis is thrust from her quaint life in Ireland into the alien and bustling world of Brooklyn, New York City. Toibin himself, an Irish-born writer, had been a victim of homesickness during his long stay in America, which gives the reader insight as to how much of himself Toibin wrote into Eilis. Toibin comments that, “I found America a strange, alien, hostile place”. These feelings he shares with his character, Eilis. Ireland did not prosper in the post-war boom like many other Western Europe economies - they were still suffering the effects in the 1950s, when this book was set - and there was a mass exodus of young men and women to England and North America in search of work. Not only had Eilis’ three brothers immigrated to England, it’s evident that there is little work available for someone with Eilis’ potential,...

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