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A Streetcar Named Desire: Passage Commentary Essay


This passage shows Blanches opinion of Stanleys barbarism through use of diction and allusion of God and Bible. Also, Mr. Williams focuses on the uses of repetition and simile in order to emphasize the theme extensively. Use of punctuation emphasizes an underlying theme of Blanches fear towards Stanley. The tone of Blanche sounds disgusted and scared of Stanley, with exclamation marks to highlight her intentions to degrade Stanley for all of her sentences. There are also dashes to emphasize her unstable status after the horrifying experience from the day before showing that she is scared.

The theme of barbarism is clearly shown here with her use of diction. Right from the start to describe Stanley, she uses the word animal to describe Stanley. Also she uses words such as survivor of stone age and apes which describes characteristics of Stanley to be unmannered. Not only does Blanche use harsh nouns to show theme of Stanleys barbarism but the uses of verbs also emphasize the theme of barbarism. The verbs are very rough words such as grunting and gnawing.

She also uses allusions of Bible as well as history to support how barbaric Stanley Kowalski is. In the beginning of the second half of the passage, Blanche mentions being made in Gods image. Blanche also explains that there has been progress towards humans being made in Gods image, with the exception of Stanley and his friends. Although she does not mention straightforwardly that Stanley is farther from being made in Gods image, her tone of voice and the way she speaks indicates that the progress towards being made in Gods image does not include Stanley and his friends. Also, she mentions anthropological studies, the studies of humanity. By mentioning the anthropological studies, she describes the history of evolution of humans and how Stanley looks similar to one of those historical sub-humans. This again emphasizes the barbaric characteristics of Stanley.

From the beginning, Blanche uses repetitive words and structure in order to emphasize Stanleys barbarism. First, Blanche uses simile to compare Stanleys behaviour to that of an animals. To further emphasize on that barbarism of Stanleys, the repetition of a structure follows, combined with similes Eats like one, moves like one, talks like one! (Line 2~3) Not only that, the word some is very much repeated throughout the whole passage. This repetition of the word some is frequently used by Blanche to show that she cannot think clearly and uses vague words due to fear of Stanleys barbarism as she is describing him. Mr. Williams has also added exclamation marks at the end of all sentences to exaggerate on all the insults that Blanche throws on Stanleys barbarism. This further stresses the theme of Stanleys barbarism shown throughout the whole passage.

Tone of the way Blanche speaks also shows Stanleys brutal ways. While shes talking, we can see that the fear is in her voice. Her choice of words repeating themselves over and over again shows that shes nervous, still shaken up from the event from yesterday showing Stanleys brutality towards his surroundings. The repetition of exclamation marks not only shows the emphasis of insults on Stanleys barbarism, it shows that Blanche is scared of Stanleys behaviour, being overly aggressive to her sister. This description of Stanley with exclamation marks and the last few sentences of the passage also show that Blanche is surprised about how Stella gets to live with a man this brutal. Therefore the tone of the passage again accentuates the barbaric ways that Stanley uses to people and objects around him.

Tennessee Williams uses allusion, diction, repetition, structure as well as tone to support how Stanley is. All of these figurative languages further support the theme of Stanleys barbaric behaviour. By doing all of this in Blanches description of Stanley in a passage, Tennessee Williams is able to give readers a foreshadowing of Stanleys physical force upon Stella and Blanche.

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