Alternative Critical Interpretations of A Streetcar Named Desire

Speech

One of the Assessment Objectives for A Streetcar Named Desire in the AS Drama and Poetry exam is AO5 – alternative critical interpretations. This AO does not exist for A Streetcar Named Desire in the A2 Drama exam but it can still count as AO3 (context). The following is a list of critics and critical perspectives that I have collected over the last year. While it is not necessary to know the names of specific critics or perspectives, it is helpful — but I know it is easy to forget, so you can replace their names with stock phrases, such as “Critics say…” or “Some have interpreted this as…”.

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Essay Tips – Drama Structure

Here is a simple outline of the structure that I try to follow when writing my essays. It  is not necessarily the best way to write, there are many other effective ways, so don’t think that if you don’t like this structure or have a preferred way of organising an essay that it is not correct.

Remember to include AO1, AO2, AO3 and AO5 in every paragraph.

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A Streetcar Named Desire – Critical Opinions

Image © The Guardian

In the exam, you will be marked on AO5 (Explore the ways different people (including critical thought) react to, and interpret texts.)

You will need to include some sense of debate in your essay but offering different interpretations of the same point, it could be a separate paragraph or within the same paragraph. You can do this by either, offering a different opinion “However, in a differing opinion, it could be suggested…” or you can use critics opinions to aid what you are saying. You can also discuss how the characters have been interpreted differently in stage and film adaptations of the play. For this exam, it doesn’t matter if you don’t include the critic’s name, but make sure you re using it to illustrate a point and not just throwing it in for the sake of it!

Here are some critical opinions we have looked at in class, of course don’t try and remember all of them, but gather a selection that you can use in your essay if appropriate.

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Sample Essay – Blanche (A Streetcar Named Desire)

Blanche Essay

(CLICK ON THE TITLE ABOVE TO VIEW)

Here is a sample essay I wrote on how the question…

‘Blanche’s demise is caused by her incapability to face the harsh reality of the changing face of America’

In light of this comment, explore Williams’ dramatic presentation of Blanche (48 marks)

If there’s anything that you personally would like or feel would benefit you, please just ask and we’ll try to do it, it helps with our revision too!

Ella

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Illusion V Reality – Streetcar Themes

Image: Stanley and Blanche© Vintage Blog

“I’ll tell you what I want. Magic! Yes, yes, magic! I try to give that to people. I misrepresent things to them. I don’t tell the truth. I tell what ought to be truth. And if that is sinful, then let me be damned for it – Don’t turn the light on!” – SCENE 9

Quick Points

  • Blanche refuses to accept the hand fate has dealt her, as she explains to Mitch in scene 9.
  • Stanley is an example of brutal physicality, he hates Blanche’s fakery and does everything he can to unravel them including the rape at the end of the play.
  • Blanche and Stanley’s relationship is a representation of the struggle between appearances and reality.
  • The Kowalskis’ apartment cannot be a self-defined world that is impermeable to greater reality.

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Scenes 6 & 7 – A Streetcar Named Desire

We know that this blog has been mainly focused on the poetry side of things (don’t worry, we will put up the final 5 poems very soon). But you must be aware that the drama section is worth double the amount of marks so concentrate on this too.

The exam is fast approaching so we thought we should put some resources up for Streetcar. We will put up helpful tasks and analysis we have done for school, as well as sample essays and information of theme and such.

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Pearson Edexcel Example Essays – A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE

Image © Bigstock

As we have already linked for poetry, here is the exemplar essays pack provided by Edexcel. There are examples of essay on A Streetcar Named Desire all of varying grades.

When it comes to writing essays, it can be really hard to know how to structure them because you cannot keep the style from GCSE, it’s just not complex and sophisticated enough. You may also not know how to write a great introduction or conclusion!

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Sample Essay – Violence (A Streetcar Named Desire)

Violence Essay

(CLICK ON THE TITLE ABOVE TO VIEW)

Here is a sample essay I wrote on how the question…

‘The violent scene of the poker night reveals how violence lies at the centre of A Streetcar Named Desire’

In the light of this comment, explore Williams’ dramatic presentation of violence in this scene of the poker night and the rest of the play (48 marks)

In order to improve it, I would have needed to engage with critical opinions of the play to consider how Stanley could be interpreted in another way.

If there’s anything that you personally would like or feel would benefit you, please just ask and we’ll try to do it, it helps with our revision too!

Ella

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