A Streetcar Named Desire context

The Author

Social Issues 

  • A streetcar named desire is clearly set in the middle of the twentieth century, sometime around 1947, in the post-world war two era.

Social Context


All information has been taken from 'Seneca',

  • Created by: Angelrk
  • Created on: 16-01-20 12:16
View mindmap
  • 'A streetcar named Desire' Context
    • The Author
      • Hometown
        • Thomas Lanier "Tennessee" Williams III born in 1911 in Columbus, Mississippi
        • Some Scholars have observed that he shares his southern roots with many of the characters in the play.
      • William's hometown
        • His mother, Edwina, was the daughter of a music teacher and the Reverend Walter Dakin, an Episcopal priest from Illinois who was assigned to a Parish in Mississippi shortly after Williams' birth.
        • His father was a travelling shoe salesmen who became an alcoholic and was frequently away from home
        • Williams lived in parsonage with his family for much of early childhood and was close to his grandparents.
        • Williams had English, Welsh and Huguenot Ancestry
      • University life
        • Williams went to the university of Missouri, In Columbia, where he enrolled in journalism classes .
        • He was board by his classes and was distracted by unrequited love for a girl
        • He soon began entering his poetry, essays, stories and plays in writing contests, hoping to earn both extra income and success
      • Early Career
        • After university, Williams had a set of mental jobs.
        • In 1939, he moved to New Orleans in Louisiana for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a federally funded program begun by President Frankling D. Roosevelt
        • This brought him to the attention of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayor film studio. He worked for them for a while as a writer
      • Sex life
        • Williams had several relationships with women, but during the 1930s he realised that he was homosexual
    • Social Context
      • Setting: New Orleans
        • The play takes place in New Orleans, a city with a proud heritage an culture, though the South of America was often not seen as progressive and forward-thinking as the west and east coasts, or the north
        • The south was still recovering from the American Civil War and the culture was still determined by remnants of issues associated with the slave trade
      • Views on sexuality and Gender
        • Traditional views of sexuality and gender were coming into collision with those adopted and chosen by a younger generation, who felt that the South was backwards-looking, conservative and outmoded
      • Religion and trends
        • Society had become more secularised (people avoided traditional Christianity and its moral codes) and were becoming more materialistic
        • Issues such as modern media, music and fashion started to influence society
      • Visage of the South
        • The South could be moneyed and appear successful
        • But underneath this veneer was something more fragile and darker
    • Social issues
      • Violence
        • Violence is usually seen within the domestic setting in ASND
        • Cultural violence is also present, forced upon the mixed-race characters and the "Polacks" as migrants
      • Class struggle
        • In this play, class struggle is connected to sex. Sexual encounters happen across class barriers
          • Middle-class Stella's union with the more working class Stanley
          • Blanche Dubois' fantasies and relationship with a student
      • Sexual frustration
        • Th play suggests that modern society is underpinned by sexual frustration of all kinds and types because society appears to repress people - particularly women - as seen in Blanch Dubois
      • Rejection and Longing
        • Several characters seek out longing (Blanche herself, Mitch and Stanley) but often, they do not find it or they are rejected from the process.
      • Fantasies
        • In ASND, fantasies about social refinement and grandeur are undercut and destroyed. It is Blanche and Stella who have these sorts of fantasies
      • Aberrations
        • Aberrations are distortions in a society that cause conflict and hurt
          • Blanche's choices are aberrations, but social aberrations also caused her situation
      • Cruelty and suffering
        • The suffering and cruelty in tragedies like ASND is not usually physical or very horrific. Characters tend to suffer Psychologically.
    • Settings
      • Macro setting
        • Stella and Stanley's apartment in Elysian fields
        • The Street outsiide
        • The Courtyard
        • The apartment above holding the Eunice and Steve Hubbel
      • Micro settings
        • The Town of Laurel, Mississippi
        • New Orleans French Quarter and its streets
        • The residence of Belle Reve


No comments have yet been made

Similar English Literature resources:

See all English Literature resources »See all A Streetcare Named Desire resources »