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Literature Passage: A Streetcar Named Desire

May 14, 2018

/ by

Jeff Hersh


A Streetcar Named Desire is a landmark American play written by Tennessee Williams. It opened on stage in 1947. The play depicts a post-World War II New Orleans, exploring the changes in society in that time. America came out of the war with new optimism and would march towards many social changes in the coming decades, all of which left the old ways of living and thinking behind. The character Blanche Dubois represents someone who is struggling with her new identity in this changing backdrop and trying to hold on to a past that is no longer there.


The play deals with issues of class, gender identity, masculinity and femininity and their roles in the changing world, and the importance of appearance. The play offers an opportunity for teachers to engage students in thoughtful discussion on these complex issues, as well as help students draw conclusions and connections to their own lives.


The film version of the play stars Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski, the same actor to play Kowalski in the original stage production and is directed by Elia Kazan, who also directed the original stage production. The film gives teachers a visual and audio component to help engage students and gain insight into the play’s characters and themes.


With Castle Learning, teachers can access 255 questions about A Streetcar Named Desire. Teachers will find a combination of question types available to assess comprehension of the play, including multiple choice, short answer, fill-in-the-blank, and constructed/extended response.


Questions are broken down into sections by scene, and there’s also a study app available for purchase for students to continue their study of the play.


Teachers can use the content in any way that helps them best teach the play. They can even input their own questions, allowing complete control over how they guide students to explore and create meaning from the text.



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