Friday, August 6, 2010

CUWAC: "A Streetcar Named Desire"

I realize I've slacked off on this meme for a while now, and I sincerely give my apologies. This book is technically a play, but I recently read it at my program at Carleton.

Title: "A Streetcar Named Desire"

Author: Tennessee Williams

Pages: 179

Rating: ***1/2

Summary: Blanche DuBois shows up on her sister's doorstep with a trunk of her belongings and bad news: the family home, Belle Reve, has been lost. Blanche spends the summer with Stella and her husband, the animalistic Stanley Kowalski. With her "nerves", Blanche is a bit unsteady--and not all she appears.

Review: This book--or play, rather--was very interesting. As stated, I read in for a writing program, not necessarily by choice. I can't say I particularly liked any of the characters, but it was very real. This play is a perfect example of gender and class roles in the mid-twentieth century--men are in charge, women just take care of them, and those of working class and just so "common" compared to the upperclass.
After reading the play, we went to see its performance, which was simply outstanding. Plays are always better on stage, where they are meant to be seen. Reading the text is one thing, but seeing it live really helped me grasp some of the deeper content of the play--such as the contrast between desire and death throughout the story. The story has also had a movie adaptation, which I have not seen, but have heard good reviews for.
All in all, a good look at an interesting time period in the United States

Recommended for: historical fiction fans, readers interested in gender roles

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