Themes in 'A Streetcar Named Desire': Inability to Control Desires

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  • A Streetcar Named Desire Themes: Inability to Control Desire
    • 'something about her uncertain manner...that suggests a moth'
      • Zoomorphic imagery
        • Parallel to Blanche
          • Driven by instinct and desire (in Blanche's case, sexual desire), afraid of exposure contributing to B's near photophobia, sense of appetite, death and decay, fragile
    • 'Streetcar named Desire'
      • Central motif
        • Lack of control of fate, uncontrollable desires, everyone en route to their ultimate demise due to overwhelming desires
    • 'epic fornications'
      • Hermatia
        • Mistresses, illigitematechidren, inability to control desires resulted in the loss of Belle Reve
    • '[low animal moans]'
      • Zoomorphic image
        • Primitive behaviour, literally animalistic, driven by desire, which outweighs everything else
    • 'there are things that happen between a man and a  woman in the dark - that sort of  make everything else seem - unimportant
      • Stella's explicit statement that her relationship is solely focused on desire and the physical connection between herself and Stanley
        • Desire overcomes all of Stella's problems and worries
    • 'Haven't you ever ridden on that streetcar?'
      • Rhetorical question
        • Implies that Stella believes her sister, Blanche, has been driven by desire more than anyone and sees her as hypocritical
    • 'Young, young, young, young'
      • Repetition
        • Recapturing sense of first love, nostalgia of death of Allan Grey, for whose death she still feels guilt
          • Demonstrates Blanche's obsession with or desire for youth and her morbid fear of aging
    • 'Voulez-vous couchez avec moi ce soir?'
      • French preposition
        • A revealing image, which hints at the true nature of Blanche
          • Demonstrates that sometimes liars are desperate to tell the truth, so she did in a way that Mitch would not understand
            • Implies that she is constantly fuelled by desire
  • 'sizes women up at a glance'
    • Objectifying image
      • Presents Stanley as a very shallow man, driven by his instincts and sexual desires like an animal,also implying adultery due to the plural noun
  • 'grand-fathers and fathers and uncles and brothers'
    • Polysyndetic list
      • Emphasised that the male relations' lack of control of their desire resulted in the downfall of the family
  • 'thrilled by it'
    • Unconventional image
      • Stella attracted to displays of alpha male power and dominance, primitive desire, craving female dominance
  • 'he was in the quicksands...I was slipping in with him!'
    • Metaphorical parallel
      • The more one struggles against desire, the more one is consumedly their desires
        • Implies that people should give into their desires
          • Depicts Blanche's struggle with uncontrollable sexual desires and mental instability
  • '[pounding the bottle cap on the corner of the table]'
    • Violent verb and phalic imagery
      • A violent method of opening the bottle implies Stanley's easy resort to his ingrained violent nature
        • Phallic/sexual imagery foreshadows a violent assault on Blanche
  • '[biting his tongue which protrudes between his lips]'
    • Serpentine, predatory image
      • Insatiable appetite caused by sexual desires, obscene mocking gesture.
        • Presents Stanley as sly, cunning and dangerous- potentially dangerous
  • 'a very young one'
    • Obsession with young men, attempt to hold onto youth and recapture her first love with Allen Grey
  • '[his fingers find the opening of her blouse]'
    • Shocking image, which mirrors the structure of events during the poker night
      • Implies that sexual desire transcends everything else, also emphasising Stanley's oppression of Stella, leading to physical and sexual abuse

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