Saturday, August 15, 2015

*Challenge Review* A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

Genre: Play
Published: 1947
Pages: 142
Ages: 16+


The Pulitzer Prize and Drama Critics Circle Award winning play—reissued with an introduction by Arthur Miller (Death of a Salesman and The Crucible), and Williams’ essay “The World I Live In.”

It is a very short list of 20th-century American plays that continue to have the same power and impact as when they first appeared—57 years after its Broadway premiere, Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire is one of those plays. The story famously recounts how the faded and promiscuous Blanche DuBois is pushed over the edge by her sexy and brutal brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski. Streetcar launched the careers of Marlon Brando, Jessica Tandy, Kim Hunter, and Karl Malden, and solidified the position of Tennessee Williams as one of the most important young playwrights of his generation, as well as that of Elia Kazan as the greatest American stage director of the ’40s and ’50s.


I don't get what the big deal is with this play or why it became so popular, but I was born a few decades after it was written, and don't know a lot about the time in which it is set. It's also a little harder for me to visualize than a book, since descriptions are minimal to allow some leeway with the set and the actors. I did enjoy the story, but not enough to rave about it.

Although I had difficulty visualizing the setting and characters at first, by the end of the play, the images were a little more solid in my mind (it helped that my copy of the play contains images from the original Broadway run.) I also eventually became more invested in the story after I figured Blanche out a bit.

Overall I give it 3 out of 5 stars. If you have a passion for plays (you've probably already read it) or the classics, you'll probably enjoy this play. - Katie 

Buy the Book

About the Author

Tennessee Williams (1911-1983), one of the 20th century's most superb writers, was also one of its most successful and prolific. His classic works include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie, Summer and Smoke, Camino Real, Sweet Bird of Youth, Night of the Iguana, Orpheus Descending, and The Rose Tattoo.

Challenge Scorecard

I used A Streetcar Named Desire to fulfill the 'Play' category on the Popsugar reading challenge, because it's a play, it fits. 

Other categories it would fulfill include
A book that became a movie 
A Pulitzer Prize-Winning book (it won for Drama)
A book I could finish in a day (it took me less than 24 hours)
A book set somewhere I've always wanted to visit (New Orleans)

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