Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
- Full Title: A Streetcar Named Desire
- When Written: 1946-7
- Where Written: New York, Los Angeles, and New Orleans
- When Published: Broadway premiere December 3, 1947
- Literary Period: Dramatic naturalism
- Genre: Psychological drama
- Setting: New Orleans, LA
- Climax: Stanley’s rape of Blanche at the end of Scene Ten
- Antagonist: Stanley Kowalski
That Rattle-trap Streetcar Named Desire. The Desire streetcar line operated in New Orleans from 1920 to 1948, going through the French Quarter to its final stop on Desire Street.
Streetcar on the silver screen. The original 1947 Broadway production of Streetcar shot Marlon Brando, who played Stanley Kowalski, to stardom. Brando’s legendary performance cemented the actor’s status as a sex symbol of the stage and screen. Elia Kazan, who directed both the original Broadway production and the 1951 film adaptation, used the Stanislavski method-acting system, which focuses on realism and natural characters instead of melodrama. The Stanislavski system asks actors to use their memories to help give the characters real emotions. Brando based his depiction of Stanley on the boxer Rocky Graziano, going to his gym to study his movements and mannerisms. Largely due to Brando’s Stanley and Vivian Leigh’s iconic Blanche, Kazan’s film has become a cultural touchstone, particularly Brando’s famous bellowing of “STELL-LAHHHHH!”
Oh, Streetcar! In an episode of The Simpsons, the characters stage a musical version of A Streetcar Named Desire called Oh, Streetcar! Mild-mannered Ned Flanders as Stanley gives the famous “STELLA” yell, singing, “Can’t you hear me yell-a? You’re putting me through hell-a!”