Marxist Reaction to A Streetcar Named Desire
In the “Streetcar named Desire” by Tennessee Williams, the conflict of characters is based on the social and cultural differences. The routes of the problem of relationship between Blanche Dubois and Stanley Kowalski lie deep in the gap of the social origins and the world perception. There definitely is a hint of the conflict between the classes and the struggle of interests.
Blanche has grown up in the world of servants, beautiful clothes and high status living. Their family mansion is the standard she uses to measure if the person is of her circle.
After Belle Reve has been lost, Blanche is helpless and hopeless. As we later find out, she has also lost her job due to immoral behavior at the school she has taught English in. Her life in the Laurel, the home town, was not to successful – she was eventually forced to leave.
Stanley Kowalski is a blue collar, and his utility to the society is obvious, though not too impressive. He is abusive and immoral, sometimes too aggressive and too cruel, but still, he is one of the best male in the neighborhood. Otherwise, Stella Dubois, Blanche’s younger sister would not have married him.
Blanche’s materialism is astonishing – her love for jewels, nice outfit and high class life is the route of her problems. She does not know how to make both ends meet being a simple school teacher with a taste of an aristocrat.
She does not find any better way of finding support than staying with different men. After losing the mansion, she moves to a hotel, and then is forced out of the town, because of several scandals. The society thus does not favor Blanche. She is useless, immoral and disagreeable. She does not respect anyone, and often sees people as inferior, lower class, the servants. She loves being served, and her breeding does not help her survive in the pecuniary embarrassment. For her, there embarrassment is purely of financial nature, not physical. She would gladly exploit every person around her to achieve stability and comfort she longed for all her life.
Stanley Kowalski is a blue-color stock satisfied with himself, and his life. He is proud of himself, and does not allow Blanche or anyone treat him worse than he believes he deserves. For the society Stanley is more convenient and more useful than Blanche, although his behavior sometimes contradicts the social norms. Unlike Blanche, Stanley finds his life and the conditions his family resides in quite satisfactory, and his wife also does, although she has been brought up in a much better surrounding.
Stanley stands for himself, he does not really care what people say, and he does not really care for the society. Blanche does not really care either, although she sometimes seems to be upset about her condition and the situation she find herself in along the play. Obviously, Blanche is an example of how people’s consciousness of the conditions of their lives reflects relations and material status.
Blanche is tired of the pressure the society put on her. She tries to find means to run away into the world of the rich, but stays in the world of illusion. The latter is easier to approach and more comfortable than the surrounding society. Blanche dreams of exploiting Shep Huntleigh, her millionaire friend, and even intends to write him a letter, asking for the money and help to start up some business for Blanche and her sister Stella.
Stanley does not give out money easily. As we find out, he does not provide his wife with the means for living, and is generous only when feels guilty after some sort of cruel trick the day before.
If Blanche had money, the relationships between them might have included some hints to the exploitation of workers by the owners of capital, but Blanche was broke, and Stanley was impressive for a woman not to give in, especially for a woman like Blache. She has certainly envied her sister’s relationship with her husband, although they were based on desire and physical attraction. Blanche’s idea of justice did not make up with her younger sister’s escape from the family, her freedom and her new family. Stanly did not meet Blanche’s social standards, but he surely did meet the standards of manhood Blanche found so much relief in.
As the situation became doom, Blanche fit less and less into the concept of living, into any society, no matter how tolerable was the city of New Orleans she moved to.
Her delusion does not help her getting through the past and leaves no hope for the future. As Blanche loses her battle with Stanley in the house of her sister, the elder Dubois falls out of reality and needs to be separated from the society. At least that is what Stella and Stanley decided would be better for Blanche.
The most important thing was that the society did not notice Blanche’s departure for the asylum; she had no utility and was written off the list long before her arrival to her sister’s place in New Orleans. She was surely an inconvenient element in hew home town, that is why the community pressed for her departure. And although Blanche Dubois’ moral values were far from being ideal, she hardly deserved such cruelty from her relatives, the society and the old and new acquaintances she had along the way. She has suffered enough to be so vulnerable to cruelty; she deserved a chance for a new life Stanley deprived her of so mercilessly, as well as the society did.
For Blanche Dubois in the play her family (or what is left of it) and their surrounding is the society, her judges and her life. She desperately tries to elude the reality, to become someone she is not, someone better, she tries to forget her past and keep it a secret from her new surrounding, but her past overtakes her, and the only way they is to escape it lies deeper in the fantasies about the ideal surrounding, a life full of comfort and beauty, a brand new society.
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