What is the significance of the two poker games in A Streetcar Named Desire?

The poker games in A Streetcar Named Desire serve as a device to show how crudely Stanley treats Stella. It also is a device that enables Blanche to meet Mitch. The first poker game is significant because Blanche overhears Mitch telling the others that he is not married. The games are also significant because they give Stanley the chance to influence Mitch's feelings for Blanche by presenting her differently than she presented herself.

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The poker games in A Streetcar Named Desire serve dramatic as well as symbolic functions. The first game brings Stanley's male friends into the apartment, allowing Blanche to meet Mitch. The second gives a reason for Mitch to be present even after he has broken off his relationship with Blanche. Stanley's focus on the poker game and his irritation that Mitch does not take it as seriously as he does provides a foil for Mitch's more sensitive nature.

The poker games are also symbolic. Poker is a game of chance, in the sense that the players cannot control what cards they are dealt, but also one of skill. The principal skill lies in bluffing, in covering up one's disadvantages and pretending to the other players that one holds better cards than is actually the case. Although Blanche is excluded from the poker game, this is a powerful metaphor for the way in which she lives and for how she conducts her relationship with Mitch. Stanley, being a more serious poker-player than Mitch, sees through...

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