A Streetcar Named Desire: An Analysis of Work

Looking at existing illustrations for A Streetcar Named Desire and analysing the meaning and motifs in them and then applying these analysing techniques to my own work.

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Analysis of existing work

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Poster and Script Book by Meaghan Murray

In this poster Blanche is in a bathtub. This shows how obsessed she is with looking good as the bathtub encapsulates feminine rituals like getting ready to go out as a bath tub isn’t an efficient way of washing its a way of relaxing and treating yourself. It also shows the artifice of feminine beauty and the lies Blanche tells and preforms in order to look good. It also implies how obsessed she is with always looking her best. This is backed up when Blanche tells Stella she’s ‘got to be seductive, put on soft colours, the colours of butterfly wings, and glow – make a little temporary magic.’ Blanche’s obsession with how other people see her is also mentioned when Stella tells Stanley ‘admire her dress and tell her she’s looking wonderful. That’s important with Blanche. Her little weakness’.

On the poster Blanche’s skin colour is fading, you can see the red coming through. This relates to the theme of Blanche being afraid of ageing in the play and losing her looks. This reflects Blanche falling apart and both her physical and mental decline. This is shown in the play when Blanche admits that she is no longer what she used to be, ‘It isn’t enough to be soft. You’ve got to be soft and attractive. And I – I’m fading now! I don’t know how much longer I can turn the trick’.

In the poster Blanche is in Stanley and Stella’s bath, taking her time, drinking Stanley’s whiskey. This relates to how Blanche stormed into their lives and took over the house. This especially annoys Stanley in the play as he is no longer the centre of attention. Blanche has changed everything. This is reflected in the play when Stanley says ‘What do you two think you are? A pair of Queens? Remember what Huey Long said ‘Every man is a king’ And I am the king around here!’ He is making it known that he is still in charge even though Blanche is acting like she owns the place. In the play Stanley is also described as having ‘the power and pride of a richly feathered feathered male bird among hens’ showing how he rules the house and it suggests how Blanche’s arrival threatens his dominance.

The bathtub in the poster also has red marks on it. These red marks resemble blood stains which elude to the violence directed towards Blanche in the play. This is supported in the play when Stanley confronts Blanche, ‘He springs towards her, overturning the table. She cries out and strikes at him with the bottle top but he catches her wrist’.

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Stanley and Blanche, Emily Hilditch 

In my work Stanley is much larger than Blanche and he is leaning towards her. This portrays Stanley’s dominance over Blanche and how he intimidates her towards the end of the play. Because Stanley is much bigger than Blanche it shows that he’s in control, and it also suggests he’s intimidating her. This also suggests Stanley’s anger and violence. His anger and dominance is shown in the play when ‘He crosses to the trunk, shoves it roughly open, and begins to open compartments.’ This shows Stanley doesn’t care about upsetting Blanche as he know he is the one inc control of this situation. it also shows he doesn’t respect her or care about upsetting her.

In this image Stanley is a bright, bold red colour. This visually portrays his anger and the brightness of the red suggests how intense his anger is. This supported in the play when ‘Stanley stalks fiercely through the portieres into the bedroom. He crosses to the small white radio and snatches it off the table. With a shouted oath, he tosses the instrument out of the window.’ This stage direction from the play shows how Stanley doesn’t control his anger, he lets it out when he wants.

Also in this image Blanche takes up a lot less space than Stanley, she looks like she is backing away from. This suggests her fear of Stanley and how intimidated she is by him. This is supported in the play when Blanche tries to get away from Stanley towards the end of the play ‘ Let me- let me get by you.’ ‘You – you stand over there.’

 

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