Williams has portrayed numerous societal downfalls, such as the idea that he (or she) who tries to hide his true self and lie to the world ends up, above all, hurting himself. This statement, which lies just below the surface in Streetcar, reflects the difficulties Williams had in finding his own place in life. Williams created that this play as a sort of “slap” toward a society which rejected Williams and his way of telling the world, “If you keep behaving like this, the whole place will go stark-raving mad!” This is distinctly seen in both the suicide of Blanche’s young husband and her own decent into madness.
Another collapse highlighted by Williams is the idea of the “macho-male,” which extends to homophobia. Stanley is obviously Williams’ characterization of this type of personality, and it is his brutality and chauvinism that lead Blanche to sink completely into the depths of insanity. By raping Blanche, Stanley is not only exerting his physical power over this disruptive woman in his life, but is attempting to show the world (and himself) that he is not a homosexual.
In the character of Stella, the reader’s primary reaction is to support and identify with her, but in reality she represents the type of person who has given up on the ideals she once knew and has, in a sense, joined forces with the enemy. She deserted Blanche at Belle Reve and has now settled for mediocrity. By the end of the play, our sympathies lie with Blanche because she was searching the world for security and ended up alone and mad. Williams is reminding the reader that, in this world, everyone is striving for a security and it was this natural desire that brought upon Blanche’s descent into madness.
Paper as a Metaphor in A Streetcar Named Desire
“[M]ortgages, foreclosures, directions, letters, poems, telegrams, newspapers, appraisals, songs, even moons (Kolin 1).” What do these all have to do with each other? Paper and A Streetcar Named Desire. Philip C. Kolin points out this metaphor in his article ” ‘It’s only a paper moon’: The Paper Ontology’ in Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire.'” Kolin has found that Williams has used paper as a metaphor to describe Blanche’s and Stanley’s faults and desires. Kolin finds this to be a common thread in Williams’ work but mainly focuses on Streetcar.
Williams himself finds paper to be an interesting creation: “In Williams’ own words, paper, when properly inscribed, can be sacred, yet when it is subjected to corrupt or untruthful imprints it is profane” (2). It’s true paper seems to play a very important role in this play.
One of the first things Stanley does is throw a “red-stained swatch of butcher paper” (3), at Stella. After reading or viewing this play, a bloodstained paper and Stanley definitely seem to intertwine with each other. Kolin argues Stanley uses paper …