A Streetcar Named Desire
by Tennessee Williams
A Streetcar Named Desire Theme of Drugs and Alcohol
Alcohol is used as a means of escape in A Streetcar Named Desire. Main character Blanche DuBois uses booze to distract herself from reality and to retreat further into a world of fantasy and cleverly contrived artifice. Habitual drinking isn’t ideal for a woman’s reputation in the 1940s, so the habit is often hidden or disguised. For the male gender, alcohol is very much tied to physical aggression and plays a part in the play’s worst violence.
Questions About Drugs and Alcohol
- How is Blanche’s drinking different from Stanley’s drinking?
- When, specifically, do we see Blanche drinking? What type of provocation seems to be driving her to the bottle?
- The stage directions tell us that Blanche is drinking to escape. Which poses a bigger threat to her: the memory of her past, or the reality of her present debacle? Which is she most trying to escape?
Chew on This
Drinking is a masculine habit in A Streetcar Named Desire.
Blanche’s increased drinking marks her descent into madness in A Streetcar Named Desire.