A Streetcar Named Desire
by Tennessee Williams
The play focuses on a dysfunctional family in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Setting/Historical Background:

The play is set on a street named Elysian Fields in New Orleans in the year 1947. This is the poorer section as well as an area known as the French Quarter. The story takes place post World War II and it deals with some very serious and mature themes. One of the main conflicts deals with the class between upper class and lower class people.
Characters:
  • Blanche DuBois - The older sister of Stella that is about 30 years old. She arrives in New Orleans to give her sister the bad news that the family fortune is gone. She tries to portray herself as very innocent, but is not very successful at it.
  • Stella Kowalski - The younger sister of Blanche and she is about 25 years old. She married Stanley for love and is not concerned with the idea that her family comes from money. She believes that love is more important. She likes to ignore the major problems that are taking place around her and she is the major link between the two worlds that are colliding in the play.
  • Stanley Kowalski - He is a factory worker that is between 28-30 years old. He is married to Stella. Stanley is the epitome of manhood. He is brutal, honest, rude, and childish all at the same time.
  • Harold Mitchell (Mitch) - He is a friend and co-worker of Stanley's. He falls in love with Blanche and wants to marry her. He is very sensitive, yet realistic at times.
Pay Attention To:
  • Symbols - colors, music, and repeated items.
  • Use of music and how it goes along with the emotion of the scene.
  • To things that are left unspoken.
  • To the different relationships that are blooming in the play.