What are the different types of love in A Streetcar Named Desire?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Love is viewed in a variety of contexts in Williams' work.  Blanche features a love of nostalgia, a desperate love of the past in the hopes of providing some semblance of hope and understanding for the present and the future.  Stella's love is one of practicality and pragmatism, as she understands that there is the love that exists between married people that makes real life liveable and one that needs to be lived.  When she speaks of how there is a certain type of experience that "happens in the dark," it seems that Stella has understood love in marriage as a reality of practicality.  For Stanley, love is power.  The expression of love that best makes sense to him is one where love is power and control.  His desire to control Stella, to "drag her down" from the pillars at Belle Reve, and his raping of Stella is evidence of this.  For Mitch, love is almost a form of blindness, where one cannot fully see the condition of another.  Instead, this love capitulates to an ideal, making a fall from such a pedestal almost inevitable.  In each of these characters, love is seen in a manner that tends to limit the capacity of the human being, reflecting something that Williams might be saying about what it means to love, in general.


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