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Streetcar Named Desire Psychoanalytic Theory

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 954 words Published: 19th Jul 2017

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The story Streetcar named Desire is a vastly confusing and complicated piece of literature. The characters in the story are constantly developing and you seem to find out their background history and their mental issued from beginning to end. The many aspects of the psychoanalysis theory apply greatly to each of the characters throughout the story and understanding the theory helps you understand their histories and their inner conflicts.

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Stella is the sister of Blanche and throughout the whole story she plays the peace keeper of all the characters that enter her apartment. Selective perception is Stella’s way of keeping her senses about herself because throughout the story Stanley her husband is the opposition of Blanches lies. Stella wants to believe that her sister is the same person mentally that she was when Stella was living back in Bella Reve. When the subject about Blanche’s lies comes up, Stella avoids the situation of talking about it. This helps her act like nothing is going on; also it buys Blanche time in the house because Stella is blocking Stanley from confronting Blanche. When Stella gets hit by Stanley, the fear of abandonment creeps in because she comes back to him instead of staying in the neighbor’s house. Partly this is because of the baby they are about to have and also because of the time period the story is set in. Stella’s self-esteem is constantly belittled by her husband because of their constant fighting ever since Blanche arrived.

Stanley is the epitome of a dominate male figure over women during the 1950’s. He feels empowered by his knowledge and the fact that he brings in all of the income. Stanley is a very unstable human being and constantly teeters between the sane and insane. He is constantly belittling all of the women in the story and it only increases when he drinks and plays poker with his friends. Stanley loves to feel powerful and this is clearly shown when he rapes Blanche. His friends also are belittled by him and he pretty much takes control of theirs poker games. Stanley’s id side is constantly striving to be right about Blanche’s lies and he will not stop till he is. When he crosses the line such as when he strikes Stella and she runs away, his fear of abandonment comes into play. Out of all the characters in the story he struggles with abandonment the worst. At a point he ends up crying out for Stella at the bottom of the stairs and this is very out of character for him, being the strong manly man act he puts on. He often displaces he anger with Blanch on his friends and wife. This cause unnecessary fighting an more turmoil that increases throughout the whole story.

Blanche is the most confusing and complicated character throughout this whole story. It took rereading and watching the movie to fully understand her characters complexity. The first clue to her mental problems is when she first arrives in town and asks the young sailor for directions. This is a huge clue to actions that will happen later on in the story. Blanches mind seems to always delete the horrific things that she has experienced like when her first husband shot himself in the street. In certain moments Blanche slips into the bad moments and almost relives them. Blanche is the kind of woman that always needs the comfort of a man and for them to always glamor her with compliments. She hides in the darkness to try and cover up that she has aged and is no longer a young woman. The darkness that she tries to cover up her face with also compares to the darkness she is trying to cover up her lies with. Blanche also tries to date younger men to make herself feel young again and also to remind her of the way she was tried when she was younger when the soldiers would come by calling out for her. Blanches character is the center point in illustrating the other characters inner struggle because in some way she brings out their flaws and inner weaknesses.

Mitch is Stanley’s friend and Blanches admirer. He is thoroughly infatuated with Blanche after meeting her at the apartment during a poker game. He falls head over heels for her but becomes aware of the many flaws that Blanche has. He is very scared about not finding a wife before is sickly mother passes away. This fear of abandonment pushes him to try harder for Blanche because his mother is getting older and sicker by the day. He also has lost the love of his wife when he was younger just like Blanche. Unlike Blanche, Mitch is embracing his age and works out at the gym trying to make his body fitter. When Stanley tells Mitch about Blanches true history, he is so head over heels for her that he is in denial and needs to hear it from other people. When he does believe that she is a liar he avoids her so basically he does not have to face the truth. Mitch also makes Blanche realize the real life when he exposes Blanche to lights in the bedroom. At this point in the story all the lies start to unravel and the story climaxes with the undoing of all the lies.

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I thoroughly enjoyed reading a Streetcar named Desire because it changes my views on how to look at characters and their development throughout a story. This text is a great way of understanding and applying the psychoanalytical theory to a story. In a Streetcar named Desire every aspect of the psychoanalytical theory is applied to every different character. Without watching the movie in class and discussing the story I feel that my understanding of the play would have been far from where it is now. Psychoanalytical literary pieces seem to be complex and take time to break down every character and understand the full story.


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