Рефераты. American Literature books summary

of purpose, and insanity were all part of Williams's world. Certainly his

experience as a known homosexual in an era and culture unfriendly to

homosexuality informed his work. His setting was the South, yet his themes

were universal and compellingly enough rendered to win him an international

audience and worldwide acclaim. In later life, as most critics agree, the

quality of his work diminished. He sufiered a long period of depression

after the death of his longtime partner in 1963. Yet his writing career was

long and prolific: twenty-five full-length plays, five screenplays, over

seventy one act plays, hundreds of short stories, two novels, poetry, and a

memoir. Five of his plays were made into movies.

Williams died of choking in an alcohol-related incident in 1983.


Blanche { Stella's older sister, until recently a high school English

teacher in Laurel, Mississippi. She arrives in New Orleans a loquacious,

witty, arrogant, fragile, and ultimately crumbling figure. Blanche once was

married to and passionately in love with a tortured young man. He killed

himself after she discovered his homosexuality, and she has sufiered from

guilt and regret ever since. Blanche watched parents and relatives{all the

old guard{die off, and then had to endure foreclosure on the family estate.

Cracking under the strain, or perhaps yielding to urges so long suppressed

that they now cannot be contained, Blanche engages in a series of sexual

escapades that trigger an expulsion from her community. In New Orleans she

puts on the airs of a woman who has never known indignity, but Stanley sees

through her. Her past catches up with her and destroys her relationship

with Mitch. Stanley, as she fears he might, destroys what's left of her. At

the end of the play she is led away to an insane asylum.

Stella Kowalski { Blanche's younger sister, with the same timeworn

aristocratic heritage, but who has jumped the sinking ship and linked her

life with lower-class vitality. Her union with Stanley is animal and

spiritual, violent but renewing. She cannot really explain it to Blanche.

While she loves her older sister, and pities her, she cannot bring herself

to believe Blanche's accusation against Stanley. Though it is agony, she

has her sister committed.

Stanley Kowalski { Stanley is the epitome of vital force. He is a man in

the ush of life, a lover of women, a worker, a fighter, new blood{a chief

male of the ock, with his tail feathers fanned and brilliant. He is loyal

to his friends, passionate to his wife, and heartlessly cruel to Blanche.

Mitch { An army buddy, coworker, and poker buddy of Stanley. He is the

sensitive member of that crowd, perhaps because he lives with his slowly-

dying mother. Mitch and Blanche are both people in need of companionship

and support. Though Mitch is of Stanley's world, and Blanche is off in her

own world, the two believe they have found an acceptable companion in the

other. Mitch woos Blanche over the course of the summer until Stanley

reveals secrets about Blanche's past.

Eunice { Stella's friend and landlady. Lives above the Kowalskis with


Steve { Poker buddy of Stanley. Lives upstairs with Eunice.

Pablo { Poker buddy of Stanley.

A Negro Woman { Two brief appearances. She is sitting on the steps talking

to Eunice when Blanche arrives. Later, in the 'real-world-struggle-for-

existence' sequence, she ri es through a prostitute's abandoned handbag.

A Doctor { Comes to the door at the play's finale to whisk Blanche off to

an asylum. After losing a struggle with the nurse, Blanche willingly goes

with the kindly-seeming doctor.

A Nurse { Comes with the doctor to collect Blanche and bring her to an

institution. A matronly, unfeminine figure with a talent for subduing

hysterical patients.

A Young Collector { A young man (seventeen, perhaps), who comes to the door

to collect for the newspaper. Blanche lusts after him but constrains

herself to irtation and a passionate farewell kiss. The boy leaves


A Mexican woman { A vendor of Mexican funeral decorations who frightens

Blanche by issuing the plaintive call: Flores para los muertos. The Mexican

woman later reprises this role in the underrated comedy Quick Change

(1990), starring Bill Murray and Geena Davis.


Stanley and Stella Kowalski live on a street called Elysian Fields in a run-

down but charming section of New Orleans. They are newly married and

desperately in love. One day Stella's older sister, Blanche DuBois, arrives

to stay with them, setting up the drama's central con ict: an emotional tug-

of-war between the raw, brute sensuality of Stanley and the fragile,

crumbling gentility of Blanche. Truth be told, it is not an even match, for

Blanche is already sliding down a slippery slope. Blanche and Stella are

the last in a line of landed Southern gentry. Stella has renounced the worn

dictates of class propriety to follow her heart and marry an uncultured

blue-collar worker of Polish extraction. Meanwhile, Blanche has played

nursemaid to the old guard on its deathbed and watched the family estate

slip through her fingers into foreclosure. Her professed values are those

of an older South, of charm and wit and chivalry, gaiety and light,

appearance and code.

Blanche claims she has been given a leave of absence from her high school

teaching job to recover from a nervous breakdown. She settles in with the

Kowalskis but things do not go smoothly. Her disapproval of Stanley and the

station in life her sister Stella has chosen is obvious, though she strives

to be polite. Her feelings against Stanley are galvanized when she

witnesses him strike Stella in a fit of drunken rage. Stanley's feelings

for her are similarly hardened when he overhears her describe him as animal-

like, neolithic, and brutish. Blanche's imposition, her airs, and her

distortions of reality infuriate Stanley. He begins to chip away at her

thin veneer of armor.

Of Stella's and Stanley's friends, one seems to stand above the rest in

sensitivity and grace. This is Mitch, who works at the same factory as

Stanley, and lives with his sick mother. He has no refinement, but his

native gentleness and sincerity inspire Blanche to return his afiection.

The two seem to need each other They see a great deal of one another as the

summer wears on, but Blanche places strict limits on their intimacy. She

has old-fashioned ideals and morals, she tells him. Meanwhile, Stella's

first pregnancy progresses and Stanley continues his subtle campaign of

intimidation against Blanche.

Blanche's past catches up with her. When she was younger, she fell in love

with and married a man whom she later caught in bed with another man. When

she confronted him, he killed himself for shame. This knocked the

foundations out from under her, and the subsequent poverty and emotional

hardships were too much for her. She sought solace or oblivion in the

intimacy of strangers; apparently many intimacies with many strangers, and

a disastrous afiair with a seventeen- year-old student at her high school.

Blanche departed Mississippi in disgrace and arrived in New Orleans with

nowhere else to go. Stanley discovers this sordid account. He tells Mitch

and efiectively ends the budding relationship. For Blanche's birthday,

Stanley presents her with a one-way bus ticket back to Mississippi. And

then, while Stella is in labor at the hospital, Stanley rapes Blanche.

Stella cannot believe the story Blanche tells her about the man she loves.

And Blanche's grasp on reality is otherwise shattered. So, with supreme

remorse, Stella has Blanche committed. In the final scene of the play,

Stella sobs in agony and the rest look on indifierently as a doctor and a

nurse lead Blanche away.

Scene 1 Summary

The scene is the exterior of a corner building on a street called Elysian

Fields, in a poor section of New Orleans with "rafish charm." The building

has two ats: upstairs live Steve and Eunice, downstairs Stanley and Stella.

Voices and the bluesy notes of an old piano emanate from an unseen bar

around the corner. It is early May, evening.

Eunice and a Negro woman are relaxing on the steps of the building when

Stanley and Mitch show up. Stanley hollers for Stella, who comes out onto

the first oor landing. Stanley hurls a package of meat up to her. He and

Mitch are going to meet Steve at the bowling alley; Stella soon follows to

watch them. Eunice and the Negro woman in particular find something

humorously suggestive in the meat-hurling episode.

Soon after Stella leaves, her sister Blanche arrives with a suitcase,

looking with disbelief at a slip of paper in her hand and then at the

building. She is "daintily" dressed and moves tentatively, looking and

apparently feeling out of place in this neighborhood. Eunice assures her

that this is where Stella lives. The Negro woman goes to the bowling alley

to tell Stella of her sister's arrival while Eunice lets Blanche into the

two-room at. Eunice makes small talk. We learn that Blanche is from

Mississippi, that she is a teacher, that her family estate is called Belle

Reve. Blanche finally asks to be left alone.

Eunice, somewhat offended, leaves to help fetch Stella. Blanche, trying to

control her discomfort, nerves, and whatever else, spies a bottle of

whiskey and downs a shot.

Stella returns. The women embrace, and Blanche talks feverishly, nearly

hysterical. Blanche is clearly critical of the physical and social setting

in which Stella lives. She tries to check her criticism, but the reunion

begins on a tense and probably familiar note. Blanche tells Stella that she

has been given a leave of absence from school due to her nerves, and that

is why she is here in the middle of the term. She wants Stella to tell her

how she looks, and in return comments on Stella's plumpness. She fusses

over Stella, is surprised to learn Stella has no maid, takes another drink,

worries about the privacy and decency of her staying in the apartment when

Stella and Stanley are in the next room with no door, and worries whether

Stanley will like her.

Stella warns Blanche that Stanley is very difierent from the men with whom

Blanche is familiar back home. She is quite clearly deeply in love with

him. In an outburst that builds to a crescendo of hysteria, Blanche reveals

that she has lost Belle Reve and recounts how she sufiered through the

agonizingly slow deaths of their parents and relatives{all while, according

to Blanche, Stella was in bed with her "Polack." Stella finally cuts her

off, then leaves the room, crying. Blanche begins to apologize, but the men

are returning.

They discuss plans for tomorrow's poker night, then break up. Stanley

enters the apartment and sizes Blanche up. The two make small talk, with

Stanley in the lead and Blanche reacting. Stanley asks what happened to

Blanche's marriage. Blanche replies haltingly that the "boy" died. She sits

down and declares that she feels ill.

Scene 2 Summary

Six o'clock the following day. Blanche is taking a bath. Stella tells

Stanley to be kind to Blanche because she has undergone the ordeal of

losing Belle Reve (the family estate). Stanley is more interested in what

happened to the proceeds of the supposed sale. He thinks Stella has been

swindled out of her rightful share, which means that he has been swindled.

Angrily he pulls all of Blanche's belongings out of her trunk, looking for

a bill of sale. To him, Blanche's somewhat tawdry clothing and rhinestone

jewelry look like finery{all that remains of the estate's value. Enraged at

Stanley's actions, Stella storms out onto the porch.

Blanche finishes her bath. She sends Stella out to the drug store to buy a

soda while she and Stanley have their discussion. With her blend of

irtation, nonsense, sincerity, and desperation, Blanche manages to disarm

Stanley and convince him that no fraud has been perpetrated against anyone.

Blanche is horrified when Stanley opens and begins to read the old letters

and love poems from her husband. Stanley lets slip that Stella is going to

have a baby. Stella returns from the drugstore and some of the men arrive

for their poker game. Exhilarated by the news of Stella's pregnancy and by

her own handling of the situation with Stanley, Blanche follows Stella for

their girls' night out.

Scene 3 Summary

It's two-thirty a.m. the same night. Steve, Pablo, Mitch, and Stanley are

playing poker in the Kowalski's kitchen. Their patter goes back and forth,

heavy with testosterone. Stella and Blanche return and Stella makes in-

troductions. Blanche immediately determines something "superior to the

others" in Mitch; Mitch's awkwardness seems to indicate an attraction on

his part, as well.

Stella and Blanche share a sisterly chat in the back room while the poker

game continues. Stanley, drunk, hollers at them to be quiet. Blanche turns

on the radio, which again rouses Stanley's ire. The other men enjoy the

rhumba, but Stanley springs up and shuts off the radio. He and Blanche

stare each other down. Mitch skips the next hand and goes to the bathroom.

Waiting for Stella to finish, he and Blanche talk. Blanche is a little

drunk, too. They discuss Mitch's sick mother, the sincerity of sick and

sorrowful people, and the inscription on Mitch's cigarette case. Blanche

claims that she is actually younger than Stella. She asks Mitch to put a

Chinese lantern she has bought over the naked bulb. As they talk Stanley is

growing more annoyed at Mitch's absence. Stella leaves the bathroom and

Blanche impulsively turns the radio back on. Stanley leaps up, rushes to

the radio, and hurls it out the window.

Stella yells at Stanley and he begins to beat her. The men pull him off.

Blanche takes Stella and some clothes to Eunice's apartment upstairs.

Stanley goes limp and seems confused, but when the men try to force him

into the shower to sober him up he fights them off. They grab their

winnings and leave.

Stanley stumbles out of the bathroom, calling for Stella. He phones

upstairs, then phones again, before hurling the phone to the oor. Half-

dressed he stumbles out to the street and calls for her again and again:

"STELL- LAHHHHH!" Eunice gives him a piece of her mind, but to no avail.

Finally, Stella slips out of the apartment and down to where Stanley is.

They stare at each other and then rush together with "animal moans." He

falls to his knees, caresses her face and belly, then lifts her up and

carries her into their at.

Blanche emerges from Eunice's at, looking for Stella. She stops short at

the entrance to the downstairs at. Mitch returns and tells her not to

worry, that the two are crazy about each other. He offers her a cigarette.

She thanks him for his kindness.

Scene 4 Summary

Early the next morning, Stella lies serenely in the bedroom, her face

aglow. Blanche, who has not slept, enters the apartment. She demands to

know how Stella could go back and spend the night with Stanley after what

he did to her. Stella feels Blanche is making a big issue out of nothing.

Yet Blanche goes on about how she must figure out a way to get them both

out of this situation, how she recently ran into an old friend who struck

it rich in oil, and perhaps he would be able to help them. Stella pays

little attention to what Blanche says; she has no desire to leave. She says

that Blanche merely saw Stanley at his worst. Blanche feels she saw at his

most characteristic{and this is what terrifies her.

Blanche simply cannot understand how a woman raised in Belle Reve could

choose to live her life with a man who has "not one particle" of a

gentleman in him, about whom there is "something downright{bestial..."

Stella's reply is that "there are things that happen between a man and a

woman in the dark{that sort of make everything else seem{unimportant." This

is just desire, says Blanche, and not a basis for marriage.

A train approaches, and while it roars past Stanley enters the at unheard.

Not knowing that Stanley is listening, Blanche holds nothing back.

She describes him as common, an animal, ape-like, a primitive brute. Stella

listens coldly. Under cover of another passing train, Stanley slips out of

the apartment, then enters it noisily. Stella runs to Stanley and embraces

him fiercely. Stanley grins at Blanche.

Scene 5 Summary

It is mid-August. Stella and Blanche are in the bedroom. Blanche finishes

writing an utterly fabricated letter to the old friend she recently ran

into, then bursts into laughter. She reads from the letter to Stella,

breaking off when the noise of Steve and Eunice's fighting upstairs grows

too loud. Eunice storms off to a bar around the corner. Nursing a bruise on

his forehead, Steve follows her. Stanley enters the apartment in full

bowling regalia. He is rude to Blanche and insinuates some knowledge of her

past. Finally, he asks her if she knows a certain man. This man often

travels to Blanche's town, and claims she was often a client of a

disreputable hotel. Blanche denies it, insisting the man must have confused

her with someone else. Stanley says he'll have the man check on it. He

heads off to the bar, telling Stella to meet him there.

Blanche is shaken to the core by Stanley's remarks. Stella doesn't seem to

take much notice. Blanche demands to know what Stella has heard about her,

what people have been saying. Stella doesn't know what she's talking about.

Blanche admits she was not "so good" the last two years, as she was losing

Belle Reve. She quite lucidly describes herself as soft, dependent, reliant

on Chinese lanterns and light colors. She admits that she no longer has the

youth or beauty to glow in the soft light. Stella doesn't want to hear her

talk like this.

Stella brings Blanche a drink. She likes to wait on Blanche; it reminds her

of their childhood. Blanche becomes hysterical, promising to leave soon,

before Stanley throws her out. Stella calms her for a moment, but when she

accidentally spills her drink slightly on her skirt, Blanche begins to

Страницы: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33

2012 © Все права защищены
При использовании материалов активная ссылка на источник обязательна.