Review – A Streetcar named desire by Tennessee Williams

A streetcar named desire
Published: first published 1947
Genre: Fiction, drama, play
Pages: 107

“I don’t want realism. I want magic! Yes, yes, magic! I try to give that to people. I misrepresent things to them. I don’t tell the truth, I tell what ought to be the truth. And if that’s sinful, then let me be damned for it!”

In a sense, I found this book to be magic. I found it an endless vortex of symbols that you can get lost in and read into to fit your own narrative. Who are you in this story? It is impossible to not relate to one or more characters.

Are you Blanche? The dreamer, who’s light is fading and lives in the comforting veil of the stars where the light doesn’t shine a harsh light on reality.

Are you Stella? The soft light that sees everybody in their best light. Forgiving and kind and perhaps a bit naive.

Are you Stanley? A hard stone that crashes through any inclarity and exposes things for what they are.

“Oh, you can’t describe someone you’re in love with!”

There are several other minor characters, but the core three held my main focus. They took up so much space that I almost forgot there were other people in this universe.

There is a lot of symbolism going on, and I think the more you study the book, the better it gets. As a story, I find it just ok. As a treasure chest of hidden meaning, it’s amazing.

“They told me to take a streetcar named Desire and then transfer to one called Cemeteries and ride six blocks and get off at – Elysian Fields!” – This quote might be the most obvious one, I’ll let you figure it out, if not, just look it up.

To me, a half-bred often found on the sharp end of some racist remarks, I felt for Stanley as he was looked down upon from Blanche. I enjoyed him standing up for himself saying “I am not a Polack. People from Poland are Poles, not Polacks. But what I am is a one hundred percent American, born and raised in the greatest country on earth and proud as hell of it, so don’t ever call me a Polack.”

This book has been studied in schools around the world, but for some reason, never in a school I ever went to. I don’t know if I benefit from reading it with a more mature perspective, or if I could have learned a great deal from this at an earlier age, I may not have been receptive to it then.

In the purpose of this review, I’ll leave it at that, if I wanted to thoroughly review it, I could write a novel as long as the actual book.

Savor it, and read in between the lines, you’ll find the real flavour lies there.