Music In Streetcar Named Desir Essay Research

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Music In Streetcar Named Desir Essay, Research Paper Summary In Tennessee Williams’ play A Streetcar Named Desire, Stanley and Stella Kowalski, newlyweds, live in a neglected but amiable part of New Orleans. One day Blanche, Stella’s sister, comes to visit, setting up the conflict of the play: an emotional struggle between the tough, harsh, blunt Stanley and the fragile, delicate gentility of Blanche. Blanche and Stella used to live on a Southern plantation, but Stella gave up the ways of the Southern gentry when she met the uncultured Stanley. Meanwhile, Blanche watched the family estate, Belle Reve, slip through her hands and into foreclosure. Blanche claims to be on leave of absence from the high school where she teaches. She expects things to go smoothly once she

arrives, using her wit and humor to charm her way into Stanley’s heart, but things do not go as planned. She quickly develops contempt for Stanley and the way of life her sister has chosen, especially when he strikes Stella in a fit of drunken rage. Stanley’s attitude is not much better. He is repulsed by what he perceives as her fake southern gentility and is galvanized to anger when he overhears her label him brutish and animal-like. One person seems to stand above the Kowalskis in grace and refinement: Mitch. Mitch works in the same factory as Stanley, but his innate good nature and sincerity encourage Blanche to return his affection. As the summer progresses Blanche keeps a limit on the intimacy of the relationship, professing to be an old-fashioned girl with strict

ideals and morals. However, Blanche’s true past catches up to her. When she was younger, she fell in love and married a young man, Allan. Soon after they were married, she walked in on her husband in bed with another man. Before long she confronted her Allan with his homosexuality, whereupon he ran outside and shot himself in shame. After this, she started seeking solace in the arms of others, many others, so many in fact that no man in her town of Laurel, Mississippi would date her. With her reputation tattered she sought solace in the arms of a 17-year-old student of hers, which lead to her dismissal. Stanley discovers this dark secret and tells Mitch, effectively ending the relationship that he and Blanche were enjoying. To further exacerbate the tension in their

relationship, Stanley’s gift to Blanche on her birthday is a ticket back to Laurel, the town she had fled. From then on, Blanche’s grasp of reality slowly collapses. She begins hallucinating, and it is at the end of the play that Stella, with great regret, has Blanche committed to a mental institution. Music’s Role in A Streetcar Named Desire In A Streetcar Named Desire, much like in many other plays, music plays a vital role in helping to create a certain mood in a scene. But in Streetcar, it often also serves as a recurring theme, helping to illustrate Blanche DuBois’ mood or telling the audience when something significant happens. Indeed, whether it is the Blue Piano that serves as the background music for most of the play or the “rapid, feverish polka tune, the

Varsouviana,” music plays a vital role in the play: musically portraying Blanche’s state of mind. When the play first begins, the stage direction indicates that the “Blue Piano” is heard. As the first scene progresses, the music remains the same, until the end of the scene, when Stanley comes home. Here the stage direction states, “The music of the polka rises up.” This piano is an instrument used in Blues, as the name would suggest, which is quite the melancholy style of music, rarely going into jovial melodies, and therefore works well in musically describing Blanche’s general mood during the play. The music is sad, depressing, lamenting, much like Blanche is about her life on Belle Reve, the family’s plantation in Laurel, Mississippi, her love life, and life in