A Streetcar Named Desire Notes & Analysis
The free A Streetcar Named Desire notes include comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. These free notes consist of about 45 pages (13,223 words) and contain the following sections:
A Streetcar Named Desire Plot Summary
Blanche Dubois, a very proper, talkative woman from Mississippi, arrives in New Orleans to stay with her sister, Stella Kowalski. Blanche is overly concerned with her appearance, cleanliness, dress, and upper-class mentality, while Stella has married someone of lower status, Stanley Kowalski. Stanley is from Poland, works in a factory, has little education, but is extremely passionate and handsome. Stella and Stanley have strong chemistry, which fuels their love.
From the beginning of her stay, Blanche and Stanley are at odds; opposing ideals, ways of life, and each other on every minute detail of life. Blanche tells Stella that she has lost Belle Reve, their childhood plantation home. Stanley wants to see the paperwork regarding the property and confronts Blanche about it. During their first conversation/confrontation, they argue and discuss Blanche's past. Stanley tells her that Stella is pregnant.
Stanley has a poker game in his small flat in Elysian Fields inviting three good friends, including Mitch. Mitch spots Blanche at that game and they spark a romance. He has never been married and lives with his sick mother, while Blanche's young husband died tragically many years ago.. While Blanche is flirting with Mitch, she turns on the radio to dance. Stanley erupts, tears it out of the wall, and throws it out the window. Stella is furious and scolds him. He hits her. She runs upstairs away from him to stay with Eunice for the evening, but later comes back to him. They love each other very much despite Stanley's violence.
Mitch and Blanche begin to see each other frequently. Blanche keeps up the facade of virginity, innocence, and properness. She tells him of her young husband's tendency toward homosexuality, her discovery of his secret, and his ultimate suicide. They open up to one another saying how they both need somebody and that they would be good for each other.
Stanley continues to search for evidence on Blanche's blemished past, finding people who knew her in Laurel, the town where she lived and taught English. She lived at a second-rate hotel called the Flamingo, sharing company with many men. She was involved with a seventeen-year-old boy at her school, which is the reason for her sudden departure. She was also evicted from the hotel, because her personal life was too seedy even for them.
Stanley tells Mitch these stories and Mitch stands Blanche up at her birthday dinner. Stanley presents her with the present of a bus ticket out of New Orleans on Tuesday, and erupts at the table, breaking plates and glasses and scaring both Stella and Blanche even more. Mitch arrives later to talk to the drunk Blanche. She attempts to cover up her drunken state and keep him in her life. They fight and he tells her he wants to sleep with her, but she responds that she will only if they were married. He tells her she is not clean enough for him and leaves.
Blanche believes that she is to leave New Orleans to go on a Caribbean cruise with one of her old beaux, Shep Huntleigh. Stanley laughs at her, but tries to make amends because his wife is having a baby. They fight and Blanche tries to stab him with a broken bottle top. She admits to her sketchy past and he shows his bad temper.
Weeks later, Stella has the baby and Stanley hosts another poker game. Blanche believes that she is going on a vacation in the country with Shep. Instead, a doctor and nurse arrive at the door to have her committed. She screams and tries to stay with Stella. After a skirmish, the doctor is kind to her and she begins to trust him. She walks out of the house with him and will go to the institution. Stella cries, wondering if she did the right thing while Stanley hopes that everything will go back to normal now that Blanche has gone.