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> Back to 60second Recap® Study Guide Library > A Streetcar Named Desire

2. Summary: Denial, Discouragement, Despair.

A Streetcar Named Desire Wuthering Heights Stella Stanley Heathcliffe CatherineWhen it comes to A Streetcar Named Desire, you might feel like you want to just get the misery over with, y’know? We understand! And we can help.

Here’s our three-word summary of A Streetcar Named Desire. You read that right. We’ll give you Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer-Prize winning masterpiece in just three words. Ready? Here they are:

Denial. Discouragement. Despair.

Basically, Tennessee Williams’ play is the story of one sad woman and her very sad life. But don’t give up all hope. A Streetcar Named Desire is also a wake-up call.


 

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The story of A Streetcar Named Desire is the story of a sad woman and her very sad life. But before you join Blanche DuBois in her depths of despair, let’s take a look at what this play is really about.

Blanche DuBois is washed up. Once a beautiful girl from a fine family and a massive estate, Blanche has left behind her glory days for sexual indiscretions, poverty, and plenty of delusion.

She ends up in New Orleans, perhaps hoping that her sister, Stella, and Stella’s husband, Stanley, will take care of her. But that old streetcar named desire has apparently left Blanche at the wrong stop. All Blanche finds at her sister’s is trouble—both in the form of Stanley, and in the form of the past Blanche can’t quite leave behind.

Poor Blanche!

Actually, you should feel bad for all those 1940s ladies. The society of their times did little to help them sustain any sort of independence. Financially and otherwise, men were their only real ticket to stability.

In A Streetcar Named Desire, playwright Tennessee Williams sets out, at least in part, to criticize a society in which women have few options and are mostly at the mercy of men. He criticizes the escapism that springs from despair and desperation.

Not a happy play, for sure. But definitely a wake-up call.

 

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