The Theme Of Isolation And Literary Devices In A Streetcar Named Desire

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The theme of Isolation in a streetcar named desire is explored by how different characters and their reactions to certain events. Williams starts by showing how blanche had a horrible experience moving to New Orleans. Although she was physically still in America, she was a complete outsider in New Orleans because of the class and standards she tried to imitate. This was first seen when Blanche was described as ‘incongruous to this setting”, the word incongruous shows how out of place Blanche was because of her background and how she viewed, treated and interacted with poorer people. This quote could also have a literal meaning as Williams continues to say she is ‘daintily dressed in a white suit with a fluffy bodice, necklace and earrings of pearl, white gloves and hat’, this further shows how much of an anomaly blanche is and how she is not only isolated culturally/socially but also physically as she decides to wear the what she perceives to be higher class clothes in a poverty stricken and blue collar city, that unlike Mississippi, where she was raised, locals from New Orleans wouldn’t respect Blanche anymore because of her clothes or fashion and may even distance themselves even further from Blanche as they feel envy towards her. 

Blanche begins with insulting Stella’s house, while being a guest when she says ‘I thought you would never come back to this horrible place!’. Here Williams begins to show Blanches true character and thoughts, which are not as congenial and superior as she makes herself out to be. It further shows how she behaves towards and thinks of anyone who she doesn’t deem as upper-class, this becomes a huge fault in her personality almost all of New Orleans doesn’t fit the typical, upper class population that Blanches sees worthy of her respect, consequently she doesn’t befriend anyone. Blanche also tries to use her outdated perception of class to try and establish her superiority over Stanley and other characters, this was clearly seen when she asked Stella ‘Where were you! In bed with your – Polack!’. Blanche becomes very reliant on her class and other derogatory terms to try and make a place for herself in New Orleans however the men of the city contrast with her ideal perception of a man. This leaves her isolated socially, emotionally and sexually as she feels even more that her looks are fading away and that men have become disinterested in her solely due to that. Williams may have used Blanches character to show how painful the effects of living in a city that is incompatible with a person's character were, as he had experienced similar emotions during his lifetime, although he was isolated for reasons out of his control the effects on a person remained the same.

The effects of certain events, such as losing her wealth and the death of her husband, become very evident with Blanche’s dependency on alcohol, Williams says she is ‘drinking to escape’. The word escape refers to her current life, which is filled with misfortune and eventually insanity, and how alcohol is the one time she doesn’t worry about her social, economic or emotional issues. Her alcoholism is an effect of her isolated existence and the same reason Blanche so desperately needs an emotional attachment to a man. Blanche sees a man as the answer to isolation as she keeps moving from ‘leaky roof to leaky roof’. The roofs could represent houses as she is desperate for physical shelter because of her financial situation however it could also represent her sense of belonging and how she has no on to go to but Stella, who she soon loses.

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