Notes on A Streetcar Named Desire Themes

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A Streetcar Named Desire Topic Tracking: Sexuality

Scene 1

Sexuality 1: Blanche sees that she will have no privacy while staying with Stella and Stanley. Privacy is necessary for changing, primping, and sexual relations. There will be no separation between the two rooms, so Blanche will be a part of Stella and Stanley's sexual relationship, in a way, while she is present. Blanche feels uncomfortable with the arrangement, but has little choice in changing the situation.

Sexuality 2: The photograph of Stanley as a military officer turns Stella on sexually. She voices her physical desire for him. This physical passion is one of their strongest ties in the relationship. Blanche is shocked to hear her sister speak so sexually about a man.

Scenes 2 and 3

Sexuality 3: Stanley breaks the news to Blanche that Stella is going to have a baby. Their baby is a direct product of their strong sexual desire for one another. They may not have the same upbringing, but they share the same passion. That passion produced a baby and shows Blanche that they have a strong relationship. The baby is the new common thread with Stella and Stanley, whereas Belle Reve was the old common thread between Stella and Blanche.

Sexuality 4: Blanche flirts with Mitch, flaunting her feminine sexuality. She pretends to make it pure and innocent. Sparks begin to fly between the two, and sexuality is at the core of the relationship. However, Blanche and Mitch do not see one another as sexually as Stella and Stanley see each other. They want companionship more than passion.

Sexuality 5: The strong passion that Stella and Stanley share is illustrated at the end of Scene Three. Stanley is screaming for his love, his baby, his Stella. She is angry with him for hitting her, but she returns to him. Her slow walk down the staircase and into his arms is full of sexual tension. They embrace and return to their room for sexual relations.

Scenes 4 and 5

Sexuality 6: Blanche cannot believe that Stella slept with Stanley that night after the fight. Stella is beaming from her evening and admits that she is thrilled by Stanley's sexual desires. The two sisters appear to hold opposite views on the issue of sexuality. However, Stella finds out the truth about Blanche's sexual history.

Sexuality 7: After Blanche tells Stella how low she thinks Stanley is on the social chain, Stanley walks into the house. They both worry that he overheard their conversation about him. Stella runs to him, embracing him sexually. Stanley winks at Blanche inferring that he has control over Stella through his sexuality. Sexuality is what binds Stella and Stanley together.

Sexuality 8: Stanley leaves the house without kissing Stella on purpose. This lack of sexual contact illustrates the power he has over her. By withdrawing his kisses, he is withdrawing himself from Stella, in turn showing her how upset he is without using violence.

Sexuality 9: Blanche sees the young man collecting money for The Evening Star. She is very attracted to him sexually and tells him so. She seduces him into a kiss and then forces him to leave. She knows she cannot get mixed up with a young boy when she is a grown woman. This sexual desire seems to be a weakness for Blanche.

Scene 6

Sexuality 10: Mitch and Blanche have returned from a date on the town. He wants to kiss her but she turns him down. She, again, gives the impression that she is a virgin and is not worried about kissing, but about where kissing can lead. Mitch is frustrated, but still completely in awe of Blanche.

Sexuality 11: Blanche's story of her young husband's death does not involve their youthful sexuality. Instead, she tells about his homosexuality. She found him with an older man and told him how disgusted she was by his actions. His embarrassment or acceptance of his homosexual tendencies caused him to commit suicide.

Scenes 7 and 8

Sexuality 12: Stanley tells Stella about the information he found on Blanche's past. It revolves around sexuality. She lived in a cheap hotel where she sold sex and was involved with a seventeen-year-old boy from the high school in which she taught. Stella cannot believe the stories she hears from Stanley, but Stanley knows them to be true.

Sexuality 13: Stanley holds Stella and tries to remind of her of their strong passion. He tells her how amazing the nights were before Blanche arrived. Again, he uses sexuality as his mechanism of communication with Stella. Stella understands and does the same.

Scenes 9 and 10

Sexuality 14: Mitch comes to see Blanche after her birthday dinner. She admits to her sexual past. Mitch now wants his way with her sexually. She tells him that they must be married first. He tells her that she is too dirty to marry with her sexual past and leaves.

Sexuality 15: In their final standoff, Stanley and Blanche fight about her sexual past. She is afraid for her body and her self, thinking that he wants to have his way with her. Stanley tells her he would never touch her. In a fit of rage, he teases her saying that maybe she would be good in bed. He carries her away in the end of the scene without allowing the reader to know what happens.

Scene 11

Sexuality 16: As Blanche is taken away, Stella runs after her in tears. Stanley tries to comfort her and show her that everything will be alright. He does so by unbuttoning her blouse. This conclusion to the play illustrates how deeply their relationship is based on sexuality.

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