Listed below are six essay prompts: create a 400-600 word essay. Be sure your essay follows the MLA style of formatting. 1. How are specific physical symbols used to characterize the essential nature of Stanley Kowalski? 2. Characterize the essential differences between the Kowalski and the DuBois worlds. 3. Using evidence from the play, try to determine which is the real Blanche, the innocent and charming Blanche or the degenerate and promiscuous Blanche. 4. Show how each subsequent meeting between Blanche and Stanley increases in violence and antagonism. 5. In spite of Blanche's past life, her deceit, and her artificiality, most readers and viewers tend to sympathize with and align themselves with her. How can this emotional reaction (or attachment) toward Blanche be justified? 6. Show how a Mitch-Blanche marriage could have been a perfect marriage if Stanley had not interfered.

Expert Answers

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

This assignment requires a student to choose a topic from a list and then write an essay responding to the chosen prompt. Of the prompts, perhaps the best choice is "2. Characterize the essential differences between the Kowalski and the DuBois worlds", as it asks for a fairly straightforward compare and contrast essay.

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams portrays the clash between two worlds, that of Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowalski. A compare and contrast essay about these could be organized as an introduction and then several body paragraphs addressing different themes:

  1. Introduction: Discuss how the play is not just an account of a conflict between individuals but between their worlds and ways of thinking.
  2. Old vs. New South: The world of Blanche is of the Old South, rooted in history and tradition and looks back to the past, whereas that of Stanley in individualistic and grounded in the present.
  3. Upper vs. Lower Class: Blanche's world is that of an upper class aristocracy and Kowalski's of the working class.
  4. Rural vs. Urban: Blanche's world is rural, with the upper classes owning large houses and lands in the older plantation economy while Kowalski's is urban, located in apartment buildings in a city and grounded in industry rather than agriculture.
  5. Feminine vs. Masculine: Blanche's world is feminine, valuing manners, civility and social cohesion, while Kowalski's is hypermasculine, emphasizing competition and physical aggression.

See the eNotes analysis of the play for extended background information and a bibliography of useful secondary sources.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

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