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A Streetcar Named Desire Teaching Unit
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- As the play opens, Blanche tells the sailor she needs to get the streetcar Desire and then change to the streetcar Cemeteries. Point out incidents in the play where desire and/or death is mentioned or suggested (show how Blanche synthesizes the two motifs and brings them together as one.)
- Tragic heroes’ lives usually end in defeat or death because of a flaw in their character. As we, the viewers, watch the tragedy unfold, there is a sense of inevitability about the approaching disaster; that is, because of a “tragic flaw,” there seems to be nothing the hero can do but sink further into the trap. Using this as your criterion, state why Blanche fits the description of a tragic hero.
- Explore how you know that Blanche suffers from an immense sense of loneliness, and describe the steps she takes, imprudent and prudent, to overcome this loneliness.
- Discuss the differing views expressed by Stanley and Blanche regarding Blanche’s illusions. How does Stanley view them? How does Blanche view them?
- By referring to incidents and comments in the play, prove the assertion that sexuality is a primitive, powerful force capable of creating or destroying life.
- State some of the ways in which Blanche represents the civilized, rational aspect of life and Stanley represents the primitive, brutish aspect of life.
- In broad terms, what could be the symbolic significance of the title of this play? What are some of the other symbols you may find in the title?
- It is easy to see Stanley as the villain in this play, but is there any justification for his actions?
About this Document
A teaching unit and individual learning packet from Prestwick House. Includes the following: comprehensive chapter-by-chapter study guides for students; questions suitable for essay topics or discussion; vocabulary lists; multiple-choice and essay test with answer key; introductory material from Prestwick House to familiarize both students and teachers with the work.