What does the title of the play stand for?A Streetcar Named Desire

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Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Literally, the title, A Streetcar Named Desire, refers to the streetcar Blanche rides into town on.  Of course, desire plays a much larger role in the play than that.

Desire is why Stella stays with Stanley.  After he abuses her she looks forward to the passion they'll share when they make up.  Desire is what Stanley can fulfill for her that her former plantation life, Blanche, etc., cannot.  Desire is connected to violence in the play, and is prevelant.  In addition to Stanley and Stella, the couple who live above them also have a relationship that contains violence.

Desire also plays a major role in Blanche's character.  It's part of the reason for her former life that she tries to hide from Stanley and Stella, etc., it is revealed when she attempts to seduce the young boy that enters the house, and is revealed by her flirting with Stanley.  The play reveals a disparity between how women act in Southern society, and how women are expected to act in Southern society.  Blanche is figuratively trapped between how she wants to live, and how she is forced to live. 

Violence, of course, mixed with desire--Stanley's--also destroys Blanche and leads to her madness.

The play basically breaks down into a battle for Stella between Blanche and Stanley.  And Stanley wins, largely because he fulfills Stella's desire. 

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Blanche asks Stella if she has ever ridden on "that streetcar named desire," volumes are spoken.  The title of the play has always been a fascinating one for me.  In one aspect, I can take it very literal as it represents New Orleans in all of its glory.  Streetcars are an indelible part of New Orleans and a streetcar named desire brings Blanche to the home of Stella and Stanley.  On a more profound level, I think that it is Blanche's rides on that streetcar, and probably all of ours, that has caused her so much pain and grief.  The idea of "Desire" can mean so much.  The play reflects a carnal and base desire.  Perhaps, it it is the coveting desire that blankets Blanche's relationship with men, creating complexity and confusion where some semblance of order is needed.  Another implication I see from the title is the idea of "desire" as happiness.  If there is anyone that really covets or even deserves contentment, it would be Blanche.  She needs it and quite badly.  I think that she understands this and is willing to "take a ride" on that streetcar as much as possible  in the hopes that it will take her to some destination where happiness is present.

lilipark | Student

this play is named street car named desire because the street car drives her to the semitary, thus we see that the desire ..... which piles up and that ;eads her to death.

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