A Streetcar Named Desire | Study Guide

Tennessee Williams

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Course Hero. "A Streetcar Named Desire Study Guide." October 13, 2016. Accessed October 20, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/A-Streetcar-Named-Desire/.

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Course Hero, "A Streetcar Named Desire Study Guide," October 13, 2016, accessed October 20, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/A-Streetcar-Named-Desire/.

A Streetcar Named Desire | Quotes

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1.

I want to be near you, got to be with somebody, I can't be alone!


Blanche DuBois, Scene 1

Blanche shows her dependency on people. She has no self-sufficiency, but instead seeks people to protect her from reality.

2.

We have the Napoleonic code ... what belongs to the wife belongs to the husband.


Stanley Kowalski, Scene 2

Stanley reveals how he views life. He sees his life as following set laws that should not be transgressed. These laws place him in a dominant role over his wife and women in general. Although the Napoleonic code also says a husband's property belongs to his wife, Stella would never dare use this code on her husband.

3.

Our improvident grandfathers and father ... and brothers exchanged the land for their epic fornications.


Blanche DuBois, Scene 2

Blanche describes how the wanton desires of her ancestors led to the destruction of Belle Reve, thereby showing that the cycle of desire, destruction, and death has been passed on to Blanche from her forbearers.

4.

It isn't on his forehead and it isn't genius.


Stella Kowalski, Scene 3

Stella emphasizes that Stanley's strength does not come from his intelligence, but instead from his sexual drive, which is what attracted her to him.

5.

STELL-LAHHHHH!


Stanley Kowalski, Scene 3

Filled with remorse for hitting Stella, Stanley calls loudly and desperately for her to come to him. By doing this Stanley reveals his strong emotional and sexual bond with her. He and his wife are enmeshed in a volatile cycle of violence and sex.

6.

In this dark march toward whatever it is we're approaching ... don't hang back with the brutes!


Blanche DuBois, Scene 4

Blanche views life as based on class differences. She sees refined people like herself as beacons of light that guide humankind to a better world. As a result she sees herself as being superior to common people, whom she considers "brutes."

7.

Come here. I want to kiss you, just once, softly and sweetly on your mouth!


Blanche DuBois, Scene 5

Blanche is attracted to very young men. Her desire for such men is an addiction. She kisses the young man like an alcoholic taking a sip of whiskey to prevent herself from drinking the bottle.

8.

The searchlight which had been turned on the world was turned off again.


Blanche DuBois, Scene 6

Blanche reveals how she views the world. When she was in love with her husband, the world was full of light, and for her, truth. However, after Allan's suicide, Blanche has trouble reconciling her husband's homosexuality and her role in his suicide. Since then she has lived among shadowy illusions, hiding herself from the world.

9.

Yep, it was practically a town ordinance passed against her!


Stanley Kowalski, Scene 7

Stanley sees himself as a prosecutor exposing the truth about Blanche's past for the benefit of his family. This explains his use of legal terminology. Stanley wouldn't be surprised if a law was passed against Blanche and people like her.

10.

I pulled you down off them columns ... how you loved it ... them colored lights going.


Stanley Kowalski, Scene 8

Stanley uses his sexuality to seduce Stella away from her upper-class background and gain control over her. Note that Stanley does not ask Stella to come down off the columns, but instead pulls her off them, bringing her down to his level.

11.

I don't tell truth, I tell what ought to be truth.


Blanche DuBois, Scene 9

Blanche reveals her rationale for living a life of lies. She feels her ideas of what reality should be trump reality itself. This attitude comes from her unsuccessful desire to escape from the reality of pain, vulnerability, and loss.

12.

The night is filled with inhuman voices like cries in a jungle.


Narrator, Scene 10

Tennessee Williams emphasizes that Stanley's rape of Blanche reduces him to a subhuman, bestial level. Williams might also be suggesting that Stanley's and Blanche's hatred of each other has led to a showdown to discover who really dominates this "jungle." Stanley uses his physicality abusively, dominating Blanche by raping her.

13.

Whoever you are—I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.


Blanche DuBois, Scene 11

Blanche is fixed on the idea of having a man to rely on and protect her. Because of this she had affairs with men she did not know well. As the play ends Blanche remains caught in this mind-set and looks to the doctor from the state mental hospital to protect her. Blanche is now trapped in this point of view. Because of this, the author refers to her as looking like a blind woman.

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