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Discuss How Class Conflict Is Represented In A Streetcar Named Desire. (A Streetcar Named Desire By Tennessee Williams)

1299 words - 6 pages

Class conflict is represented throughout the play, A Streetcar Named Desire in various ways through characters, symbols, ideas and language. Characters such as Blanche, Stella, Mitch and Stanley are used throughout the text to represent the upper and lower classes, as well as the conflict between the two classes. Symbols, ideas and language help to define the different classes as well as helping to represent the conflict between classes. The language (dialogue) of the characters, symbolic use of names, animal imagery and colour (clothes) and the ideas of cultural capital help to define what the lower and upper classes are.A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams was written in 1947. ...view middle of the document...

The conflict becomes evident during the first scene when we first meet Blanche and Stanley. Blanche is dressed in her white proper clothing ("...She is daintily dressed in a white suit with a fluffy bodice, necklace and ear-rings of pearl, white gloves and hat..." Scene One), whilst Stanley is dressed in dirty denim work clothes ("...roughly dressed in blue denim work clothes... carries his bowling jacket..." Scene One). Blanche is often dressed in white, pale, timid colours, whereas Stanley is dressed in bright bold colours. Stanley's bright colours overpowers Blanche's pale colours. Blanche is symbolised as the aristocratic moth and Stanley the common cave man. The symbol of colour helps the reader construct the inevitable doom of the fragile upper class (Blanche) by the strong lower class (Stanley). These symbols of colour and animal imagery related to each character, helps reinforce the conflict between the Old South (upper class) and the New South (lower class).The language (dialogue) of each character and symbolic use of names help in constructing ideas of class conflict in this play. Blanche speaks in a quiet, refined voice and uses sophisticated language ("...- Only Poe! Only Mr Edgar Allan Poe! - could do it justice!" Scene One, Blanche). This constructs Blanche to be fragile and vulnerable, with the cultural capital of sophistication. Blanche uses her speech on a high level, searching for values and reflecting education in her manner. Stanley yells and hollers and uses unsophisticated language. ("[Bellowing]: Hey, there! Stella, Baby!" Scene One, Stanley) Stanley's speech is often dotted with exclamations and short, to the point sentences. Stanley uses his speech to express his wants, likes and dislikes. This further constructs Stanley as loud and strong. Blanche is shown to be singing throughout the text, which in turn aggravates Stanley. This further shows the conflict between the two characters through language (dialogue). The use of names in this play helps in constructing the separate classes. The names Blanche Dubois and Stanley Kowalski help construct different representations of class. The name Blanche means white and creates the irony of Blanche not being as white and pure as her name represents. In contrast the name Stanley offers no specific meaning in relation to meaning in the play. Secondly the name Dubois sounds aristocratic, with a possible proud heritage, whereas the name Kowalski sounds more modern. A Dubois speaks softly and flittingly, as the name is pronounced, whereas a Kowalski speaks loudly and brutally as the name is said. Kowalski's enjoy loud, rowdy poker parties, whilst Dubois's wince and prefer teas, cocktail parties and luncheons. The names of...

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