Streetcar themes

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  • Key Themes in A Streetcar Named Desire
    • Sex and Death
      • Blanche and Allan
        • Blanche falls in love with Allan
        • Allan is gay
        • Blanche's harsh reaction to his sexuality provokes his suicide
        • 'I know! I know! You disgust me...'
        • 'The boy I had married broke away from me and ran out of the casino'
        • His death also comes about because of his internalised love for someone else
      • Blanche and Mitch
        • Blanche falls for Mitch in a forced manner
        • When Mitch and Blanche are being affectionate
          • We hear about a lost love
        • 'Sick people have such deep, sincere attachments.'
        • 'I loved someone too, and the person I loved I lost'
        • 'I showed the inscription, didn't I?'
    • Light and Darkness
      • Light
        • Blanche's fear of aging
        • Reveals Blanche's true identity
        • Lost love
        • Illusions
        • Sexual/ physical threat
        • Past youthful sexual innocence
        • 'I can't stand a naked light-bulb, any more than I can a rude remark or a vulgar action.'
        • 'Could you give me a light'
        • 'And then the searchlight which had been turned on the world was turned off again...'
      • Darkness
        • Descent in madeness
        • Departure from reality
        • The desire to regain youth
        • 'I like the dark. The dark is comforting to me.'
    • Water
      • Bathing
        • Purifying herself
        • Unhappiness in herself
        • Sings Paper Moon in the bath - suggests plotting
        • 'Oh I feel so good after my long, hot bath'
      • Stanley's shower
        • 'I want water'
        • Straightforward like his personality
        • Water is used to stop violent behaviour
      • Storm + rain
        • Storms = Blanche's feeling of entrapment
        • 'I've run for protection, Stella, from one leaky roof to another...'
        • Rain = cleansing
        • 'Don't you just love these long rainy afternoons'
        • Old regrettable life = Belle Reve's hot weather
        • New life = New Orleans' cleansing rain
      • Sea
        • 'And when I die I'm going to die on the sea'
        • When she dies she'll be rid of sins
        • '...sailing over a cardboard sea'
    • Blood/ Redness/ Fire/ Heat
      • Blood
        • 'I fought for it, bled for it, almost died for it'
        • She'd do anything to be a happy Southern Belle again.
        • There is danger in her clothes - inpure and ominous
        • 'Red stained robe'
      • Redness
        • 'Red letter night'
        • Hawthorne's Scarlett Letter
      • Fire and heat
        • 'I'll burn them'
        • Trying to un-tarnish the letters that Stanley has touched.
        • Fire is purifying to some cultures
        • 'Fire! Fire!'
        • 'Red hots'
          • Mexican man - idea of multiculturalism

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