Compare and contrast the the theme of love in A Streetcar Named Desire and 1984.

In A Streetcar Named Desire and 1984, it might be argued that the theme of love results in deceit and manipulation. It could also be argued that the play and the novel both treat the theme of love as a primarily physical experience.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One way to compare and contrast the theme of love in Tennessee Williams’s play A Streetcar Named Desire and George Orwell’s novel 1984 is by discussing delusion. In a sense, both texts present love as a form of distortion or manipulation. Love normally refers to something positive. It implies a deep attachment or bond with someone. Yet in the texts that you mention, love seems to mean something odious.

In Streetcar, you could probably find multiple examples of Blanche declaiming the wonders of love. She quotes an Elizabeth Barrett Browning poem about love. She sings a song about love. Yet for Blanche, love seems to be a means to deception. It’s a lofty word or state that allows her to avoid the uncomfortable truths about her life. In other words, Blanche seems less interested in love and more concerned with using love to conceal her tumultuous past.

In 1984, love also serves as a kind of decoy. You might talk about the Ministry of Love. This government agency’s aim is not to foster normal ideals of love. It’s an agency for torture. As with A Streetcar Named Desire, 1984 tries to use love to prop up its concocted world.

You could also argue that both texts present love as notably physical and somewhat animalistic. You could claim that Stella and Stanley’s love is predominately carnal. You could say something similar about the relationship between Winston and Julia.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial