Study Guide

A Streetcar Named Desire Drugs and Alcohol

By Tennessee Williams

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Drugs and Alcohol

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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

  1. How is Blanche’s drinking different from Stanley’s drinking?
  2. When, specifically, do we see Blanche drinking? What type of provocation seems to be driving her to the bottle?
  3. 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.

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