The Streetcar Named ”Desire”

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The Streetcar Named ”Desire” Tennessee Williams was born Thomas Lanier Williams in Columbus, Mississippi, in 1911. Much of his childhood was spent in St. Louis. The nickname Tennessee' seems to have been pinned on him in college, in reference to is father's birthplace or his own deep Southern accent, or maybe both.Descended from an old and prominent Tennessee family, Williams's fatherworked at a shoe company and was often away from home. Williams lived with mother, his sister Rose (who would suffer from mental illness and later undergo a lobotomy), and his maternal grandparents. At sixteen, Williams won $5 in a national competition for his essay, "Can a Wife be a Good Sport?," published in Smart Set. The next year he published his first story in Weird Tales.

Soon after, he entered the University of Missouri, where he wrote his first play. He withdrew from the university before receiving his degree, and went to work at his father's shoe company. After entering and dropping out of Washington University, Williams graduated from the University of Iowa in 1938. He continued to work on drama, receiving a Rockefeller grant and studying play writing at The New School in Manhattan. During the early years of World War Two, Williams worked in Hollywood as a scriptwriter. In 1944, The Glass Menagerie opened in New York, won the prestigious New York Critics' Circle Award, and catapulted Williams into the upper echelon of American playwrights. Two years later, A Streetcar Named Desire cemented his reputation, garnering another Critics' Circle and

adding a Pulitzer Prize. He would win another Critics' Circle and Pulitzer for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1955. Tennessee Williams mined his own life for much of the pathos in his drama. His most memorable characters (many of them complex females, such as Blanche DuBois) contain recognizable elements of their author or people close to him. Alcoholism, depression, thwarted desire, loneliness in search of purpose, and insanity were all part of Williams's world. Certainly his experience as a known homosexual in an era and culture unfriendly to homosexuality informed his work. His setting was the South, yet his themes were universal and compellingly enough rendered to win him an international audience and worldwide acclaim. In later life, as most critics agree, the quality of his work

diminished. He sufiered a long period of depression after the death of his longtime partner in 1963. Yet his writing career was long and prolific: twenty-five full-length plays, five screenplays, over seventy one act plays, hundreds of short stories, two novels, poetry, and a memoir. Five of his plays were made into movies. Williams died of choking in an alcohol-related incident in 1983. Characters Blanche { Stella's older sister, until recently a high school English teacher in Laurel, Mississippi. She arrives in New Orleans a loquacious, witty, arrogant, fragile, and ultimately crumbling figure. Blanche once was married to and passionately in love with a tortured young man. He killed himself after she discovered his homosexuality, and she has sufiered from guilt and regret ever

since. Blanche watched parents and relatives{all the old guard{die off, and then had to endure foreclosure on the family estate. Cracking under the strain, or perhaps yielding to urges so long suppressed that they now cannot be contained, Blanche engages in a series of sexual escapades that trigger an expulsion from her community. In New Orleans she puts on the airs of a woman who has never known indignity, but Stanley sees through her. Her past catches up with her and destroys her relationship with Mitch. Stanley, as she fears he might, destroys what's left of her. At the end of the play she is led away to an insane asylum. Stella Kowalski { Blanche's younger sister, with the same timeworn aristocratic heritage, but who has jumped the sinking ship and linked her life with