Hello everybody! We're four students (Kate, Olga, Ann & Lena) of the Department of Foreign Languages and Area Studies of Lomonosov Moscow State University. This is our first sample blog dedicated to American Literature issues and to elaboration of our Final Web-Project. If you're interested - welcome!
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Now it’s my turn to share some of my impressions about “The Streetcar Named Desire” since – at last – I’ve managed to read it to the one of the turning points, I suppose.
To start with the banal thing, there are no ideal people in the world. And all the characters of “S.N.D.” serve as a good evidence to this utterance. Let me describe the protagonists, as I see them now.
Blanche. She came to meet with her younger sister Stella and, as it turned out, to stay at her place sine die. In the course of the plot, some details become clear. She came because of the loss of their family estate (“a big place with white columns” in Laurel, Mississippi) Belle Reve, but she couldn’t explain how it had happened. Blanche was a teacher of English (or E. Literature?) in school. She smokes; she’s dressed in the latest fashion and pretentiously to the place where she came. She behaves in a nervous, excessively boisterous way; She pretends to act as a member of high society, but she (from my opinion) looks like spoilt child, she’s not courteous but, when considers herself abused, tries to be too polite and outwardly restrained, she feels uncomfortable in Stella’s two-room flat and she’s not satisfied with the conveniences (Stell made a bed for her in the kitchen, which was screened off only by curtains) and first, when external decencies should be served, she says that it doesn’t matter, but then at the first slightest thing that irritates her (and there are lots) appears, she can’t deter her aggressiveness and says very impolite and offensive words, although apologizes almost straight away afterwards. She pretends that she’s very preoccupied with her sisters’ problems, but, in fact, she worries about herself and her comfort. She flirts with Stella’s’ husband, when they stays alone and says that her “sister married a man!” (in the beginning), but very soon, after one incident, she speaks about him as a hulking, grunting, gnawing and swilling animal (beast, sub-human, ape-like man, brute, etc.). Actually, she’s not far off the truth, but still. She’s daffy, self-obsessed person, who loves heightened attention and fuss around her.
When they’re talking about the loss of their plantation Belle Reve, she nearly accuses Stella of it and says such thing:”Death is expensive, Miss Stella!” She’s always preoccupied with money, although she says that she’s absolutely indifferent to them. She says “clothes are my passion” and she has really much of them (when Stanley were burrowing into the wardrobe with Blanche’s stuff, he pulled out an armful of dresses, fox fur-peaces, pearls, etc.), though complains of her paltry salary of a teacher (although these things only look so pretentious; Stella comments that they are not so expensive).
And just some rough lines concerning the stylistic devices:
The action of the play starts with Blanche's arrival to the Elysian Fields by the streetcars named ‘Desire’ and ‘Cemeteries’. Quite an odd and, at first sight, funny names. But these are very important symbols, which T.Williams deliberately gives in the beginning. Actually, almost all names are symbolical in this play. Not far from Elysian Fields Four Deuces district is situated, the plantation of DuBois sisters was called Belle Reve, which in French means “Beautiful dream”. Sounds also play very important role: cat scratches when something is wrong, music of “blue piano” gets louder when the conflict approaches to the highest point, rumor of the street (vendors’ shouts, cars’ sounds, etc.) and cars...
it's all for now but will be continued.
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
I have watched "The Streetcar Named Desire" , an old flim based on T.Williams' play with the same title. The first thing that should be mentioned is a marvellous performing of all the actors. Without their tremendous effort, it would be impossible to take Blanche not just an insane woman who got what was coming to her, but a poor creature who is just pretending not to notice that ugly world around her. Even her sister does not sympathise with her much, while the woman is the only one who has never done any harm to anybody. In this way she is very much like Laura from "The Glass Menagerie". However, they are not identical. Laura is not accepted by the society because she underestimates herself. Blanche became an outcast because she did not want to accept rude, harsh people and preferred to imitate a better, more refind world. There is a curious symbol that the play and the film share: Laura's former safe environment is represented by a unicorn, a small glass figure, (which is a former unicorn now, having lost its horn) and a broken mirror (in the scene when Stanley raped Blanche) stands for her illusionary world severely smashed into pieces. Glass here stands for human life, very easy to break, impossible to fix and hurting so much once it is broken.
Here is a link to some more information about T.Williams' plays, I found it quite useful. http://www.sheilaomalley.com/archives/007829.html#more
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
At last I managed to find a text of "The Streetcar Named Desire" (Hurray!)
BUT... The trouble is that this version, I think, is a result of bad scanning, with lots of mistakes and - probably, the most important detail - it's not an original text, but a script of a play, staged in NY by Elia Kazan (director who later shot the famous movie of the same name), if I not mistaken. But I think it's similar to the original.
It's in text (MsWord)-format so if you want it, send me an e-mail or comment on this post.