In an English class you may be expected to read and write an essay about Tennessee Williams' play "A Streetcar Named Desire." If so, your essay will need a thesis statement -- or main point. In order to come up with a thesis statement, begin by identifying prominent themes in the play. Then narrow the scope of the theme to a single argument or statement. Some themes from which you can draw a thesis statement include fantasy versus reality, loneliness, masculinity and mortality.
Fantasy versus Reality
One possible thesis idea about the theme of fantasy versus reality is: "Blanche DuBois uses denial and fantasy to present a public façade in hopes of concealing her past." In the play, Blanche hides from the pain of her husband's suicide, the loss of the family estate Belle Reve and her loneliness by pretending she is wealthy and innocent. This façade is one of the sources of conflict between Stanley and Blanche. Stanley tries to force Blanche to admit to her lies, only furthering the rift and animosity between them.
Many of the characters in the play suffer from a sense of loneliness. It could be argued, therefore, that "The characters' sense of loneliness, and their plights to find refuge from it, drive the plot of the play." In the case of Stanley and Stella, their relationship is based partly on lust and desire, but there is also an aspect of co-dependency. In scene three when Stella leaves Stanley, they both suffer deep loneliness without one another's presence, leaving Stanley sobbing and calling for Stella in the street. Blanche and Mitch also suffer from loneliness, and it is this sentiment that drives forward their courtship.
Men and Masculinity
The theme of men and masculinity is prominent throughout the play, in particular in the character of Stanley Kowalski. Stanley's behavior, which Stella finds attractive, leads to altercations between him and Blanche. A possible thesis around this theme is: "Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowalski's central conflict stems from having different notions of what it means to be a real man." For Stanley, being a man means to be aggressive, dominating, passionate and sometimes even violent. For Blanche, this type of behavior is "sub-human," and she is appalled that her sister finds it appealing. In scene four, Blanche tells Mitch, "Thank you for being so kind! I need some kindness now." For her, being kind, classy and taking care of a woman are characteristics of a good man.
The theme of death and mortality permeates the plot and tone of the play. A possible thesis involving this theme is, "We must accept our mortality and learn to enjoy all the stages of life, otherwise we may go mad if we try to escape from it." With this thesis a student can argue that people must deal with and confront the deaths of others as well as their our own inevitable death. In the play, Blanche needs to confront her thoughts and feelings regarding her husband's suicide, otherwise she will be haunted by her guilt and sense of loss forever. Blanche also tries to hide her aging appearance by hiding from bright lights, and by overtly lying to Mitch about her age. This avoidance and lie ultimately lead to Mitch's anger and distrust of her.
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