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A Street Car Named Desire

  • Date Submitted: 10/14/2010 07:13 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 53.6 
  • Words: 2315
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Due to Tennessee Williams's unique style of writing and use of symbolism, there is much room for individual interpretation in it's theme and meaning. Because of this, many writers have presented their views of the work in critical essays and books. One of these such authors is Leonard Quirino in his essay, 'The Cards Indicate a Voyage on A Streetcar Named Desire.' Quirino remarks that the recurring theme of the poker game is a strong symbol in the play. Quirino states: '...Much of the verbal and theatrical imagery that constitutes the drama is drawn from games, chance and luck. ...Two of the most crucial scenes are presented within the framework of poker games played onstage. Indeed, the tactics and ceremonial of games in general, and poker in particular, may be seen as constituting the informing structural principle of the play as a whole. Pitting Stanley Kowalski...against Blanche DuBois..., Williams   makes the former the inevitable winner of the game whose stakes are survival in the kind of world the play posits. For the first of four of the eleven scenes of Streetcar, Blanche, by reason of her affectation of gentility and respectability, manages to bluff a good hand in her game with Stanley; thus, in the third scene Stanley is continually losing, principally to Mitch the potential ally of Blanche, in the poker game played onstage. However, generally suspicious of Blanche's behavior and her past, and made aware at the end of the fourth scene that she considers him an ape and a brute, Stanley pursues an investigation of the real identity of her cards. ...He continually discredits her gambits until, in the penultimate scene, he caps his winnings by raping her. In the last scene of the play, Stanley is not only winning every card game being played onstage, but he has also won the game he played with Blanche. Depending as it does on the skillful manipulation of the hands that chance deals out, the card game is used by Williams throughout Streetcar as a symbol of...

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