Study Guide

A Streetcar Named Desire Appearances

By Tennessee Williams

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For main character and fading Southern belle Blanche DuBois, appearances are important. They’re also generally fake. Consumed with the need to appear younger and more innocent than she actually is, every personal interaction is a series of machinations and contrivances designed to reveal the truth, regarding both looks and reputation.

Questions About Appearances

  1. We get a lot of description of Blanche’s looks, but not so much of Stella’s. What do we know about Stella’s appearance? Does it matter to the play?
  2. Marlon Brando’s role in Streetcar has gone down in history as the most famous Stanley Kowalski ever. Should Stanley be played by an attractive guy like Brando? Is he supposed to be good-looking? Why or why not?
  3. If reputation is so important to Blanche, why did she behave the way she did back in Laurel?

Chew on This

Blanche obsesses over her aging appearance because she can’t stand to look at her inner character.

Physical appearance is the most important tool of characterization used in A Streetcar Named Desire.

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