A Streetcar Named Desire – Jack Williams

               Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, is a 1947 classic which addresses the human psyche and many of the social “inconsistencies” that result from the human mind and its desires such as homosexuality, for example. Reflected in each of Williams’ characters are the multitudinous desires and flaws that are inherent to any individual by nature. Whether crippling alcoholism, uncontrollable egotism, or intense self-hatred, Tennessee Williams offers an enjoyable insight into the qualities which each of us faces and fights against. I think that this can most easily be witnessed during the scene in which Mitch, in a fit of anger and humiliation, makes a very aggressive sexual approach on Blanche; only to be dissuaded by her screaming “fire” out of self-defense. Very soon thereafter, it is implied (though not shown) that Stanley actually takes it a step further and rapes Blanche, resulting in her (understandable) psychotic breakdown.

I see this movie as posing the question of whether or not an individual has control over seemingly uncontrollable mental states. Almost every case in the play points to the conclusion that Tennessee Williams was arguing for the uncontrollable school. Having seen the terrible outcome of the succumbing to one’s desires, the audience later hears Blanche say to her mental health doctor, “Whoever you are, I have always depended upon the kindness of strangers” as they walk, in my mind, to her lobotomy (Williams’ sister struggled with mental health issues and faced lobotomy). In essence, the only way to deal with the human condition is to completely cease all mental capacity. I personally do not agree with this!

28. June 2016 by John Williams
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