All of the links between "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "The Handmaids Tale"

  • Created by: Notbartt
  • Created on: 06-03-18 10:56

Links Between  A Streetcar Named Desire  &  The Handmaids Tale

Links Between Characters -add quotes

  • The Commander and Stanley

Like the Commander, Stanley is in a position of power over the women whom live under his ruling and this is due to the patriarchal societies that the authors have shaped in their novels. However, as we see, The Commander has a complete control over those beneath him; so much so, that he actually fails to understand the true capacity of it. Whereas Stanley actively opresses Stella and Blanche with the constant goal of having totalitarian power over his household.

  • Offred and Stella (Role of Women)

The linking factor between these two characters is their inablity to act upon their rebellious tendancies. Stella shows the audience how a male dominated society causes oppression, and not only are the Handmaids oppressed in their roles, they are also oppressed as women, and seen only for their sexual usage. Stanley is a great example of a man who uses the women around him for their bodies- he rapes Blanche as a way to get her to move out, he has sex with Stella straight after hitting her to 'prove his love' and he demonstrates clearly at the end of the play how important it is to him to put women's bodies before the actual woman.

  • Blanche and Moira

Both of these characters fail to adapt to their surroundings. Blanche cannot cope without having the comfort of a man- she feels dependent. Moira can't stand the Red centre and everything that is imposed upon her, and so she escapes and runs away. They both attempt to 'run away' from their problems in one form or another, but end up institutionalised. Blanche is sent away to a mental hospital and Moira is trapped in Jezebels. Neither of them will experience their true desire of comfort ever again.

Links between Themes

  • Opression vs Rebellion and Resistance.

This theme is pivotal to both texts, and as stated in the Offred and Stella section of the character similaries, it can be seen that a lot of the women presented suffer from a systematic type of opression. Both Offred and Stella go through their whole life with other people making desicions for them, and this is not because they are incapable of making their own choice, it is because that is the only way they know how to live. 

  • Wars and the Legacy of Wars

We find out pretty early on in Handmaids that a war is in progress in Guilead against rebels, and that the information regarding the war is often only painted in a light that favours the ideals of Guilead itself. Wars are more than usually fought for a cause of belief, and it is interesting to look back to the civil war in the united states for both texts as inspiration for the same narrative that happens whenever two forces collide with different ideologies. Blanche VS Stanley (much like the north vs the south in the civil war and Guilead vs the Rebellion (much like rebels that one sees all over the world against totalitarian states)

  • Desire (and the meaning of the titles)

The theme of desire is most prevolent in "A Streetcar Named Desire", as the title suggests. Blanche rides a literal streetcar with the name of "Desire" to Stella's house at the beginning of the play. This journey ends at 'Elysian fields', which in classic literature, is known as a land of the dead. The message here, shaped by William's use of metaphors would be that her "Desire" is what leads Blanche to her ultimate downfall at the end of the play and is what causes her to be sent away to a mental institution. It is almost as if she was mentally killed in the process of reaching her desire. Likewise, we see countless situations where Handmaids have been killed for following their Desire's of liberty. This would lead onto the inference that the title of HMT is suggestive that the content of the novel is what all the handmaids go through, and this is just another account of it. That is why the title reads as 'the handmaids tale" and not 'a handmaids tale'.

  • Identity

The theme of identity is another really important key factor when linking both of the novels. When you look at characters such as Stanley, you see one that is very clear of his own identity, and he is proud of this. It is safe to say that he remains in this state throughout the entire novel, and this is what gives him his status. This can be linked to Serena Joy's initial self identity that allows her to retain her status. Her fall of status over time can be linked to the way she falls into her oppressed state. 


Nusrath :)))


Definitely can use this to link other plays/books with A Streetcar, thank you