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A Streetcar Named Desire: revision

28 Mar

streetcarWhen writing about drama texts on the AS Literature paper, remember that your marks are divided into two categories: 24 marks are for the quality of your argument and ability to express your ideas precisely and using correct terminology, as well as your ability to evaluate how the dramatist creates meaning for the audience; a further 24 marks are devoted to your ability to look at the significance of contextual factors and to explore the possibility of alternative readings or interpretations.

It is a good idea to revise dramatic devices and terminology. In addition, here are some resources to guide your revision for ‘Streetcar’:

 

Performances of the play:

 

You should also keep an eye out for encore showings of the National Theatre’s ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’. More information, as well as interviews and production photographs, can be found here: http://ntlive.nationaltheatre.org.uk/productions/ntlout7-a-streetcar-named-desire

 

Contextual information – things to revise:

  • The impact of World War Two on American society
  • Masculinity and femininity in the 1940s
  • Plastic Theatre
  • Tennessee Williams’ personal life and experiences
  • The decay of the South
  • Elia Kazan’s first production of the play, and the public’s reaction to it (particularly the reaction to Blanche)
  • The play as a tragedy

Here are some basics to get you started:

Contextual notes

If you’ve forgotten your book, here’s a PDF copy of the play to revise from:

A Streetcar Named Desire text

 

Here are some practice questions:

SECTION B: Drama practice questions

 Answer ONE question on your chosen text. Write your answer on lined paper.

 TRAGEDY: A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams

 1. ‘Tennessee Williams’ characters in A Streetcar Named Desire are so wilfully deluded and self-centred that it is hard to sympathise with them’. In the light of this comment, explore Williams’ dramatic presentation of two key characters in the play A Streetcar Named Desire.  In your answer you must consider relevant contextual factors.

(Total for Question 1 = 48 marks)

 

 2. ‘A Streetcar Named Desire is a play about the ravishment of the tender, the sensitive, the delicate, by the savage and brutal forces of modern society.’ In the light of this comment, explore Williams’ dramatic presentation of weakness and strength in the play A Streetcar Named Desire.   In your answer you must consider relevant contextual factors.

(Total for Question 2 = 48 marks)

 

3. ‘Blanche’s upper class Southern background becomes both a mask and a prison for the character.’ In the light of this comment, explore Williams’ dramatic presentation of Blanche DuBois in the play A Streetcar Named Desire.   In your answer you must consider relevant contextual factors.

(Total for Question 3= 48 marks)

 

4. ‘In A Streetcar Named Desire it is obvious that the playwright, Tennessee Williams, regards most men as savages.’ In the light of this comment, explore Williams’ dramatic presentation of Stanley in the play A Streetcar Named Desire.   In your answer you must consider relevant contextual factors.

(Total for Question 4= 48 marks)

 

5. ‘Blanche struggles maintain her dignity through denial and delusions, leading to her tragic downfall.’ In the light of this comment, explore Williams’ dramatic presentation of Blanche as a tragic hero in the play A Streetcar Named Desire.   In your answer you must consider relevant contextual factors.

(Total for Question 5= 48 marks)

 

6. ‘It is easy to overlook Stella’s character as weak and submissive, yet she arguably wields the most power in the play’. In the light of this comment, explore Williams’ dramatic presentation of Stella in the play A Streetcar Named Desire.   In your answer you must consider relevant contextual factors.

(Total for Question 6= 48 marks)

 

Scottish Ballet’s Streetcar

14 Mar

Following on from our trip to see the wonderful Scottish Ballet production of A Streetcar Named Desire, here is a behind the scenes look at how the performance came together: