am 15. Mai 2000
Tennessee Williams's masterfully written drama explores the extremes of fantasy versus reality, the Old South versus the New South, and primitive desire versus civilized restraint. Its meager 142 page spine is no indication of the complexity and significance that Williams achieves in his remarkable work. A strong aspect of the play is Williams's amazingly vivid portrayal of desperate and forsaken characters who symbolize and presumably resolve his battles between extremes. He created and immortal woman in the character of Blanche DuBois, the haggard and fragile southern beauty whose pathetic last grasp at happiness is cruelly destroyed. She represents fantasy for her many outrageous attempts to elude herself, and she likewise represents the Old South with only her manners and pretentions remaining after the foreclosure of her family's estate. The movie version of A Streetcar Named Desire shot Marlon Brando to fame as Stanley Kowalski, a sweat-shirted barbarian and crudely sensual brother-in-law who precipitated Blanche's tragedy. He symbolizes unrestrained desire with the recurring animal motif that follows him throughout the play. A third major character, Stella Kowalski, acts as mediator between her constantly conflicting husband and older sister. She magnifies the New South in her renounce of the Old pretentions by marrying a blue collar immigrant. Conflicts between these and other vividly colorful characters always in light of the cultural New Orleans backdrop provide a reader with a lasting impression and an awe for Williams's impeccable style and intense dialogue.
am 22. August 2009
Spitzenbuch. Theaterstück spielt ende der 40er. Sprache ist sehr verstaendlich, dazu kommen Vokabelhilfen, über die ich mich allerdings ein zweimal gewundert habe, da wirklich einfache Vokabeln, die identisch zum deutschen sind, angegeben waren. Dagegen auf derselben Seite ein zwei recht seltene, für die es keine Erklärungen gab.
Sonst aber kein großes Hindernis. Ansonsten brilliante Story um Wahrheit und Sünde. Der Leser muss selber entscheiden welche der Akteure fuer ihn auf der guten oder schlechten Seite agieren. (Was dem Stück im übrigen in offiziellen Kritiken vorgeworfen wurde.) Nicht leicht vorhersehbar, sehr schönes Buch wie ich finde. Außerdem das kleine praktische Reclam Format für jede Tasche.
am 9. Juli 2000
It's amazing how much of its original power this play has maintained even though by all accounts it should be dated by now. After all, we have come far, have we not, from the south in those backwards years? Or have we? This was one of the works that we read in my AP English class this year and I was surprised how well a group of 11th graders were able to identify with the sexual tension, the deceptions, the characters and the plot. Blanche's hopeless situation is still quite poignant and Stanley's animal magnetism is something all of them could relate to. After reading the play countless times (and seeing various performances), I can say that this short play packs quite a wallop. Williams fits in a myriad of human emotions into this one short play. If for some reason you missed this one, read it and then rent the movie with Marlon Brando. With memorable characters like Stanley, Stella, Blanch and Mitch who have made their way into our everyday vocubulary, and a sizzling dialogue, it's a lasting work. The movie Body Heat is the closest modern parallel I can think of in terms of setting and mood.
am 6. Mai 2000
Elysian Fields in New Orleans, sweaty, sultry, and steaming, embodies the perfect setting for A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, a play centering on the themes of desire, domination, and destruction. Blanche DuBois epitomized the fading Southern belle, so obsessed with her aging beauty that she refuses to be seen in the glaring light and invents a "make-believe world" where her values endure. Stanley Kowalski represents the brutish, ape-like animal who thrives on women, alcohol, poker, and bowling. Stella Kowalski portrays the gentle sister and wife, torn between her worship of her husband and her loyalty to her fragile sister, Blanche. The action begins as Blanche arrives unexpectedly at the Kowalski's apartment. Immediately, the reader can observe the sexual tension between Blanche and Stanley. The play focuses on the conflict between these two characters, symbolizing the struggle between the gentility of the old Southern values and the brute force of the new, Northern values and also the battle between the nonconformist and conventional society. These themes so often surfaced in Williams's life that before perusing the play, the reader should scan a biography of Tennessee. The reader would be amazed at the incredible similarity between the family and acquaintances of Williams and the characters in his plays. Also, after finshing the play, the reader should rent the 1951 film version, which won the Best Picture Oscar and showcased vibrant, memorable performances by Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh, offering a different, more happy ending to the drama. I highly recommend this play not only for its beautiful prose, but for its lasting presence in written classics and its creation of unforgettable characters to which all can relate. This drama would attract the reader who enjoys the local color of New Orleans, violence, biting comedy, insanity, and suspence, for the play constantly keeps the reader guessing at the real reason that Blanche arrived at Elysian Fields and at what will finally happen between Stanley and Blanche. Thus, I advise that the reader follow Blanche and "take a streetcar named Desire, and then transfer to one called Cemeteries and ride six blocks and get off at ---Elysian Fields!"
am 20. Januar 2015
We were requested to read the play „A streetcar named desire“ (1947) by Tennessee Williams as part of the English curriculum. Coincidentally, I have been already introduced to Williams’ bizarre and unique world by none other than my mother.
A few years back, she found in our quite reasonably-sized library the play I would come to appreciate and fully understand only much later on.
I read it and was fascinated by the extravagance of Lady Blanche DuBois, intimidated by lower-class Stanley Kowalski and as torn between these two contrasting characters as gentle Miss Stella DuBois-Kowalski.
Reading the play many years later again, I discovered it anew with a different perception and love for setting, plot and characters.
We see the development of the group dynamics and how the changes also disturb the relationship between the main characters. It is not a typical love triangle, but rather a fight for dominance, superiority and approval.
While reading, I always had to distinguish between bitter truths and sweet lies, harsh realities and untrue conceptions. Much like Blanche’s view of the world, not acknowledging the cruel and the bad, still living in the past’s glamorous and long since outdated traditions, I also did not come to realize what was happening in the play and what Tennessee Williams’ intentions truly were when reading the book at a younger, more innocent age. Which was probably a good thing.
What came as shocking to me, was the revelation of Blanche’s husband’s true sexuality, or rather the answer to why he’d committed suicide. Thus the state of Blanche’s mind and what drove her to such a distorted perception of reality became clearer to me.
Additionally, the rape Stanley has most likely committed, shattered her last shred of stability and pushed her over into insanity.
I could not imagine a more fitting ending, it stays as true as possible, almost cruel and does not shy away of bringing out the less colourful and darker sides of the real world.
Tennessee Williams’ affiliation with sombre themes, shunned by many, is what make his plays so remarkable. He confronts human errors brilliantly and reveals that there are no completely good and evil, black and white actions, but almost always these are different shades of grey.
As Blanche said in her final confrontation with Mitch: „I misrepresent things to them. I don’t tell the truth, I tell what ought to be truth. And if that is sinful, then let me be damned for it!“
Would I recommend this play to read or at least watch the movie?
Most certainly yes, read the play AND watch the movie:
Because the book appeals to me on a more intellectual level, containing not only a variety of information regarding the mentality, culture and society in the 1940’s, but also a profound analysis of the human nature, but also because this might have been Marlon Brando’s greatest performance and after watching the movie you will never picture anyone else as the crude but drop-dead gorgeous male specimen that is Stanley Kowalski.
am 9. Mai 2000
The new society portrayed through Stanley challenges Blanche and her Old Southern ways. Both of these characters are stubborn in keeping their own traditions, and Williams does a magnificent job of keeping tension between them from beginning to end. The two characters have many confrontations, and usually another conflict arises before resolving the previous one. The building up of these conflicts leads to many bursts of heated arguments and violence until it reaches one large explosion in the end followed by the sudden collapse of everything in the loser's world. The reader feels compassion for Blanche and her mental disintegration. The symbolism of the polka music escalating in her mind shows rise to her pain and sorrow, which assist in her moving towards insanity. Although many readers finish the book hating the brutish Stanley, I believe that one truly needs to appreciate the artwork Williams uses in creating him. Stanley Kowalski was meant to be written the way he was: a physical and sexual character who did not understand anything besides how to pride himself in his masculinity. He responds to situations he dislikes by throwing objects and yelling, and it the few times he does seem happy is when he reminisces on his capabilities to have sex however he pleased before Blanche's arrival. The play may seem offensive, but the issues of lust, promiscuity, and homosexuality are all present today. Perhaps readers become offended because a certain discomfort arises when Williams assigns the issues personalities and names. I believe that was his intention. By labeling these issues with characters, the reader feels sympathy for Blanche and her traditions, disgust towards Stanley and his primitive ways, and even confusion for Stella and her being trapped in the middle. Despite all the technicalities meticulously woven in this novel, I enjoyed the simplicity of how the characters relate to everyday people. At first, I found it difficult to read about such extreme characters. After NOT thinking about it, I realized that Blanche is just a woman who wants to be happy, but she is trapping herself with her own ideals of the perfect lady. And Stanley although crude in many ways, does have a caring side for Stella that he is not always able to express. His hostility towards Blanche is provoked by her constant criticism of his stupidity. Williams's characters can be identified in very particular ways and also very universal ways. His intense plot drives through the play, and even though this was an English project, I really enjoyed the book.
am 11. Februar 1999
I would like to stress that the reader from the US who stipulated in April of last year that this play was 'Dull... very dull', obviously has no serious interest whatsoever in modern literature, or indeed, quite possibly, serious literature of any kind. I am not arrogant, and I am more than happy to accept other people's opinions, but for them to say that they couldn't even specify three themes within the play is plain ridicuous. How can you study any kind of literature without being able to acknowledge the merits and even the structure of books that you don't like? I do not particulary care for Chaucer, but I can still see that it has some kind of literary basis. For you to dismiss one of the greatest & most acclaimed works of this century as 'dull' is beyond belief. I can identify more than 3 themes wiithout even thinking about it too hard. What about Blanche's ongoing descent into madness, the way in which she has problems distinuishing between truth & illusion, the way in which she consistently aggrovates Stanley & his marriage, the class distinctions, the distinctions between culture & so called 'neandertahlism', the distinctions between the old & the new, for example, the old streetcar & the new, more powerful locomotive, and, most notably, the theme of love? Blanche obviously needs security in the arms of a mutual love, and this is clearly portrayed throughout the whole novel. Perhaps you should take another read of the play so that you can make a more informed opinion. A Steetcar Named Desire is by no means 'dull', but one of the most interesting and enjoyable works from a great playwrite.
am 9. März 2000
This is an intense play, with poetic dialogue. If you can't comprehend marginal characters, you're going to just be turned off by the characters in this play. But they are desperate characters, and unforgettable characters. Tennesee Williams' big flaw for me, was that he wasn't really able to comprehend affection in romantic relationships, but only lust. When Stanley talks about getting "them colored lights going" again when Blanche moves out, Williams reveals that he can't comprehend three-dimensional romances. But that is the only flaw in the play, and the rest of it is truly brilliant. You do need an attention span to read this, since plays are basically made up of long speeches. I once rented the Brando-film video to watch with a friend, and he looked at me like I'd forced him to eat sawdust. His idea of drama was a Jon Claude Van Damme film. So, if your idea of entertainment is mainly dopey action films and MTV, stay away. But if you have patience, and a love of intense literature, you'll take an emotional journey when you experience this play. (The Brando movie has a relatively happy ending, but the written play, that Brando starred in on Broadway, has an unhappy ending. They both have their strengths, so I'd recommend you see/read both endings).
am 20. März 2000
I have read many plays in my short 18 years of living, ranging from Shakespeare to Ibsen to Wilde, and of course Williams. Streetcar is quite possibly the best play I have ever read. (keep in mind I'm a huge Shakepeare freak, so this is quite a statement for me) I am enrolled in advanced placement literature at my high school, and every six weeks we have to read a play or novel and write up a paper on it. This six weeks, I chose Streetcar because it was short. Boy was I suprised how much Williams could pack into those 140-some pages. It was one of the first pieces of literature that has shocked me with some of the scenes. I didn't expect that much out of a play from the 40's that was a required reading in my classroom. This is a definite must-read for anyone. The references from it in pop culture and other pieces of literature is amazing. This is more than just the "STELLAAAAAH!" or "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers" play...it is a classic that will be enjoyed from now on into the future. How corny =)
am 28. April 1998
The play shows us that what we have always dreamed is not always what we are. More importantly, it shows us that we cannot escape who we are, lest we devolve into a state of fantasy, living a beautiful dream when the world around us is a nightmare. Williams is one of the premier playwrights of our time. And yet he is seriously underrated in modern courses in literature and on the modern stage. His themes are universal and ageless in that they center upon the fall from innocence that all human beings suffer upon learning that humanity is not beautiful. It is brute and desirous and akin to the raunchy yet realistic world of Stanley Kowalski. Blanche Dubois cannot live without embracing desire, embracing Stanley. And yet, she can never accept that she must desire. For that reason, she descends into madness, more content with the illusion that life is a beautiful dream, a belle reve, instead of an imperfect lesson in death and loss.