Uh oh..

Just found the book,play “A street car named desire” my daughter must be going to study it for English at her catholic school.I haven’t time just now to read it…is it as bad as the cover indicates?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Streetcar_Named_Desire_(play

Well… It is a classic so to speak. If they teach the Catholic viewpoint of it, there is a “moral” to the story… but it does have adult content. The husband savages his wife’s sister. [um, I THINK they were married…]
Flip through the book to near the end. Send an email, and ask them if they are going to view this through a Catholic lense… or are they going to let the students decide for themselves.

This stuff happens in real life. At some point teens need to know just how bad it is out there, and they need to be wary and prepared for it lest they fall into the same traps others have.
Failing that, you could frame it that way for her yourself.

It’s for mature audiences, to put it mildly. Couldn’t they find something better? (“The Song of Bernadette” FTW!) :smiley:

I just viewed a series of clips of the movie version starring Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando on YouTube a couple of nights ago of “A Streetcar Named Desire”. The movie version is a depressing story; not familiar with the original play, but it probably is pretty much the same. It seems pretty heavy for teenagers. I would sure wonder what interpretation is given to my child in school.

By the way, Vivien Leigh’s biography is interesting and sad. She suffered from mental illness and her portrayal in this movie of a person falling deeper into mental illness is so vivid and persuasive (she won an Academy Award for it), it was thought by some that her performance contributed even further to her mental decline.

Is it really that bad? I remember reading it in high school myself, I think that’s pretty common, and honestly I can’t remember it being that difficult to deal with (it sure contained immorality, but so does the Bible and Shakespeare).

GOOD HEAVENS! Any of the Tennessee Williams’ plays are masterpieces, glorious, soaring theater, and your daughter’s teacher is to be commended and REWARDED for teaching such high literature. Wow!

This play won the PULITZER PRIZE for drama!!! It’s magnificent! It’s gripping. It’s tragic. It’s beautiful. The characters are so beautifully-nuanced. There is not one wasted word in this play, even the stage directions.

This isn’t Desperate Housewives or some other modern trashy sex tale! *Streetcar Named Desire *is a classic American story of people whose lives are a wreck due to their own passions and poor choices and flaws. It’s heartrending.

If the teacher is astute enough to select this play for study, the teacher is wise enough to present it correctly and appropriately to the class.

How old is your daughter? If she is at least 6th grade or above, this play is not only appropriate for study, but it is a fantastic choice to study. Again, the teacher should receive a dinner and a cash gift from the parents in the school! The students will never forget this play, and it may get them interested in theater as an art form and help them to develop a life-long love of high theater and become supporters of the arts in their communities.

The Song of Bernadette? Yes, it’s sweet, but it’s not high literature, and it bypasses the tragedy and futility of the Tennessee Williams’ plays. Kids can’t spend their entire lives in a safe Catholic fortress. Besides, The Song of Bernadette is a MOVIE, not a play! It’s not appropriate for study in any English class.

I personally would have selected Williams’ play, The Glass Menagerie for a middle school or high school class, because it’s about a young shy girl and a domineering mother who doesn’t know how to let her child grow up. But maybe the teacher was afraid of parental anger.

And my very favorite Williams play is* Cat On A Hot Tin Roof*. This story is so amazing and uplifting. I sincerely hope that you and your daughter will go on to read as many of the Williams’ plays as you can find. They are worth spending time on.

It’s a novel by the Jewish writer Franz Werfel, one of literature’s unsung heroes. The movie is a semi-faithful adaptation. :slight_smile:

I personally would have selected Williams’ play, The Glass Menagerie for a middle school or high school class, because it’s about a young shy girl and a domineering mother who doesn’t know how to let her child grow up. But maybe the teacher was afraid of parental anger.

That’s a wonderful choice. The Glass Menagerie is a great play - heart-breakingly great. “Blow out your candles, Laura…” :crying:

Art imitating life, or life imitating art? An interesting discussion that the teacher may bring up in the class.

Although a study of the play may include learning about the actress who portrayed the character in the movie version of the play, it’s not really relevant. Streetcar Named Desire is a play, and it is done in theaters, and many actresses, including well-balanced healthy Catholic actresses, have and will portray Blanche DuBois.

Vivian Leigh died very young of tuberculosis, BTW. Maybe that’s one reason for her mental decline–it’s a devastating and painful disease and back then, the cures were not reliable. I would probably be pretty mentally distressed, too. After all, Vivian Leigh was not a saint and didn’t have the spirituality of someone like St. Theresa of Lisieux.

And it’s just my personal opinion, but I think that the character of Blanche Devereaux on television’s The Golden Girls, was influenced by Blanche DuBois from Streetcar Named Desire.

I did not know it was a novel. Was ita “pop” novel, or considered “high” literature?

And is it a play?

That’s a wonderful choice. The Glass Menagerie is a great play - heart-breakingly great. “Blow out your candles, Laura…” :crying:

Yes, and it’s so relevant to today. However, Streetcar Named Desire will give the teacher the opportunity to explore historical settings and their influence on a story and characters.

I think it’s a literary hagiography. And, no, you’ve got me there, it isn’t a play. :smiley: I just love the book, that’s all.

Yes, and it’s so relevant to today. However, Streetcar Named Desire will give the teacher the opportunity to explore historical settings and their influence on a story and characters.

That’s very true. :thumbsup:

She also had bipolar disorder, a severe mental illness that had nothing to do with what particular roles she essayed. Those were the early days of lithium therapy (she died in 1967), and there was little else available.

*“Stellaaaaaaaaah!!!” * :smiley:

Of course, Cate Blanchett just won an Oscar for essentially playing Stella.

Au contraire…
Vivien Leigh later said that it was playing the role of Blanche DuBois that finally “tipped me over into madness.”

Not glorious for me when the poor ex-teacher Blanche, getting booted from her job for having an affair with a 17 year old student—either before or after her homosexual husband commits suicide?—comes to live with her sister and gets raped by her brother-in-law, consequently losing her mind. Her sister can’t really admit it in the end, because she’ll have nowhere to go with her newborn baby, so sticks with that wonderful hubby. Blanche is pushed off to the mental institution. I did not study this play in high school, let alone grade school (the nuns would’ve flipped). Its full of despair. It may be well-written, dramatically, but I believe its a better subject for college-age study.

YES I HEARD YOU SAYING PULITZER PRIZE. But we are right here and can hear (read) you just fine.

heart-rend·ing
adjective
adjective: heartrending
1.
(of a story or event) causing great sadness or distress.
synonyms:distressing, upsetting, disturbing, heartbreaking, sad, tragic, painful, traumatic, harrowing; pitiful, poignant, plaintive, moving, tearjerker, tearjerking, gut-wrenching

Yeah…some of the modern trashy sex tales are, too. They’re just not 67 years old yet.

Newsflash: kids nowadays live in a world full of trash, tragedy, cruelty, despair and sexual aberration.

Yes, I agree about our world, and I firmly believe that reading or seeing a play about the world we live in helps young people (and the rest of us) to process the real world and figure out a way to assimilate it into our faith system and life philosophy without giving way to despair and cynicism.

Considering what teenagers live through in real life and in the fiction world, I don’t think Streetcar is inappropriate for them at all, assuming that the teacher is skilled in teaching.

For Christians, a play is a way of getting into the minds and souls of those who are caught up in lifestyles of sin without actually committing the sin ourselves. It helps us to understand exactly how sinful people get to such a tragic and hopeless place in their lives. It leads to greater understanding of and charity for others and their situations, and this is good for Christians because it helps us to evangelize more effectively in our words and everyday lives.

Sorry about the caps on Pulitzer Prize–I was excited about it. I truly love Tennessee Williams’ plays because of their bleakness and pathos, but also because there is often a hint of optimism in the stories. I also think he creates memorable and tragic characters.

BTW, it would probably be relevant for me to disclose that my daughter is a professional stage manager, and her interest in theater began when she was just a toddler. Interest in theater runs high in our family!
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I read it first in high school, I’ve seen the Brando version, I’ve seen the version with Treat Williams.

I don’t think it’s at all inappropriate. The theme is mature in spots, but nothing is blatant.

Even Stanley’s treatment of Blanche is not clear. We don’t really know if he did or didn’t, or if it’s Blanche being delusional.

I can’t wait for my own children to be old enough to read it.

Pretty much points to Stanley’s rape of Blanches person and mind…I find that inappropriate …
carrying her off to the bedroom and her fear of him is clear.

       Thank's to all for posts.

I think the play is very well written, but not appropriate for most high school aged children.

The Glass Menagerie** would be a much better choice for high school. I remember reading it in one of my h.s. classes.

Well with a name like yours, of course you would! :smiley:

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