Themes In Literature

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Themes in Literature

This paper highlights the theme of irony and distress in lives of the characters taken from two novels. The first novel is A Streetcar Named Desire, which is written by Tennessee Williams; while the second novel is called Daisy Miller, authored by Henry James.

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

In A Streetcar Named Desire, Williams shows the reality of people's lives, an enduring concern of his throughout his writing career. He wrote this play believing he was about to die, so he wrote about what he felt needed to be said. When it was first presented, the play was considered shocking because of its frank presentation of sexual issues (Miller, 10).

Williams did not rely on realism alone to portray reality. In A Streetcar Named Desire as in other plays, he effectively uses dramatic devices to convey and enrich meanings. Most of the action of the play takes place in the Kowalskis' apartment, but there is also action in the street. This action—the Mexican woman with “flores para los muertos” and the struggle of the drunk and the prostitute—provide not only local color but also a commentary on the main action. When Blanche first arrives at the apartment, a screeching cat is heard, a minor bit of stage business that helps create a sense of Blanche's tension.

It is death and desire that have brought Blanche to this low point in her life. She never recovered from the devastating death of her young husband, indirectly caused by the nature of his sexual desires. The deaths of her relatives have been instrumental in reducing her to poverty, as have the desires, the costly “epic fornications” of her forebears (Miller, 11). Her own promiscuous sexual desire has destroyed her reputation and her professional career. The rape by Stanley, which he claims is the ...
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