The Old South Vs the New South: Examples from Streetcar

  • Created by: Meg 123
  • Created on: 27-05-19 23:26

Contrasts of Costume 

The contrast between Stanley and Blache's social backgrounds is established by William's from the begining of the play through the use of costume. During Blanche's first arrival at Elysian Fields she is "daintly dressed in a white suit" as if she were "arriving at a cocktail party. This identifies her as belonging to an elite of inherited wealth and privilege, whose life is centered around pleasure and work.

Stanley's costume forms a stark contrast to Blanche's elegant atire, as his "blue demin work clothes," and "bowling jacket," portray him as belonging to a modern America where hard work is needed in order to succeed and sport and popular culture have replaced intellectual pursuits.

During the **** scene, the defeat of the Old South cultures and values that Blanche represents is represented through her "soiled and crumpled white satin evening gown," forshadowing her final humilation by Stanley who is triumphent in his "brilliant pyjama coat."

The Old South

Like other writers of the Sothern Gothic, Williams had an ambivilant relationship with the Old South, exposing the corruption which led to its downfall, at the same time lamenting the disapearance of the civilisation and the romantic chivalry that died along with it. As an English teacher, Blanche is a staunch deffender of the values of "art and poetry and music," which she urges Stella to "cling to as (the) flag" of a civilised world which is quickly becoming engulfed by the "dark march," of a modern America. However, Blanche admits to Mitch that this task is getting increasingly hopeless as the new generation of "bobby-soxers and drug store Romeos" which she teaches are no longer interested in "Hawthorne and Whitman and Poe." When Stanley throws the white radio out of the window the window as Blanche and Miych dance to the waltz (nostalgically trying to recapture a lost chivalric world that they both yearn for) his actions embody the new world's violent rejection of what it considers to be irrlevent and a thing of the past.

The decline of Blanche during the coarse of the play mirrors the crisis of the Old South after its defeat in the Civil War. Blanche,


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