What makes A Streetcar Named Desire a Modernist play?

Expert Answers

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

There are several "technical" aspects of "A Streetcar Named Desire" that show it be a modernist play.

Traditional plays are divided into three or four acts, with some kind of intermission or pause between them.  Tennessee Williams, by contrast, structured "Streetcar" as one long act divided into eleven scenes.  Presumably, there would be little or no pause between these scenes.

In Scene Ten, Blanche is fully "discovered"  by Stanley and she tries to make a desparate phonecall to her imaginary benefactor, Mr. Shep Huntleigh.  At this point, Williams gives the following stage direction:

[Through the back wall of the rooms, which have become transparent, can be seen the sidewalk...]

I'm not sure how directors actually carried out this direction to make the back wall disappear, but it certainly is a modern, tradition-breaking device.

 

Tennessee Williams's "A Streetcar Named Desire" is certainly modernist in its themes of alienation and ambivalence, as well as its conflict between the Old...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 607 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Already a member? Log in here.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on