Naturalism in Streetcar Named Desire – Essay Example

The paper "Naturalism in Streetcar Named Desire " is a worthy example of an essay on visual arts and film studies. The Streetcar Named Desire is set at the New Orleans apartment of Stella and Stanley—it is‘raffish’ for the playwright, dingy and uncomfortable for Blanche DuBois (Stella’s visiting sister), cozy and comfortable for Stella; and it is named ‘Elysian Fields’ which signifies beauty and divinity. The conflict of perspectives is well established in the opening scene itself. Blanche is uneasy not only with the atmosphere and facilities of the apartment; she can’t even imagine Stella living with Stanley, a Polish immigrant doing the blue-collar job. The play begins with Stanley hurling a packet of meat to Stella and shouting something in his street-smart voice which suggests sexual connotations for two onlookers, as well as for the audience. Williams realistically builds up New Orleans as a city with cosmopolitan agglomeration, with a Catholic majority, which ignored the typical Southern discriminations based on race and class. Blacks and whites, upper class and lower class people, different ethnic groups socialize and play together. This is indigestible to Blanche who dons the superior airs of class prejudices and Northern upbringing, as part of her vain attempts to camouflage her failing fortunes and pathetic life. The hum of the street and the lingering bluesy notes of an old piano set the mood and theme of the play. Pertinent melancholy underscores the life of Blanche and spills over into the initial joyful life of Stella-Stanley couple. The basic human instincts of suspicion, hatred, and jealousy are realistically built into the relations. A major part of the tensions in the play is set by the sister and the husband vying for Stella, as happens in many of our households. The apartment set up on the stage opens up everything to the audience’s eyes. Everything is visible to everybody— the downstairs and the upstairs, the exterior as well as the interior—simultaneously. In some scenes, there are simultaneous actions in different stairs, both of which we can see at the same time. Stella losing her family estate, her stealing a drink and pretensions of not being a habitual drinker, Stanley’s greedy suspicions that Blanche might have cheated Stella of her family fortunes, his misogynic chauvinistic insistence on Stella’s wealth as his own, the poker game, Blache’s precious set of love letters and poems from her dead husband, the modesty and courage of Blanche reprimanding her husband for gay relations, his committing suicide (remember the disgust with which society of the ‘40s viewed homosexuality) are all very realistically built into the first two scenes of the play. Dipsomania, deprivation, homosexuality, insanity and a lot more that is depicted in the play has intimate autobiographical connections too—with the life of the dramatist as well as his literary hero, the poet Hart Crane.