A Streetcar Named Desire/Blue Jasmine Comparison Scotts College Essay

1091 words - 5 pages

Tristan Penfold
A Streetcar Named Desire and Blue Jasmine Comparison
The modern-day American Dream is inextricably shackled to a feverish obsession with wealth, money and power, and through simultaneously comparing Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” and Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire” we are able to track an ideological evolution and further probe the illusory and deceptive façade of the American Dream. In Blue Jasmine money rules over everyone, it leads forth their very existence conducts their sense of happiness; conversely in its predecessor, “A Streetcar Named Desire”, Williams’ presents a far more metaphysical and emotionally slanted angle on society and human nature, thus demonstrating a transmutation within the American Dream which has occurred between the two contexts. Ultimately Allen achieves this through Jasmine’s harsh awakening and subtly contrasting behaviour to Blanche’s. He also refracts Stanley and Mitch into multiple characters, furthering this sense of competitiveness, whilst also pointing out a casually omnipresent infidelity which in turn illuminates a relinquishment of traditional values observable in “A Streetcar”.
In the film, “Blue Jasmine”, there is an overt value of monetary mania which frowns at us from the screen. We are presented with a society riddled with an overbearing obsession for money and wealth, converse to Williams’ highly illusory and metaphysical projection of the environment and character affairs in “A Streetcar”. Allen projects the post-war story of awakening and disillusionment onto a new temporal and geographical setting, abandoning Williams’ somewhat lyrical Orleans setting and cementing the story in a truthfully harsh reality. He remoulds Blanche’s innocence and loss of identity through Jasmine, using her to elucidate a society of greed and avarice, with divergent values, thus allowing us to track the development and evolution of the ideals pertaining to the American Dream. Whilst a desire for money is evident in “A Streetcar” - Stanley ravenously tearing through Blanche’s belongings and exalting that he doesn’t “like to be swindled”, in Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” society does appear to be more centred upon monetary value and commodities. In the context of a capitalistic society this is tangible, however Allen further points to a vast discrepancy and dissonance within the system - within the American Dream. He achieves this through the highly juxtaposed lifestyles of Jasmine’s old life and Ginger’s suffocating San Francisco apartment and further lottery triumph with Auggie. The lottery, in conjunction with Hal’s furtive dealings and sumptuous lifestyle reveal a society interlaced with inequality and corruption, very much contrary to the standard perception of the American Dream. We can also further inspect this societal ideal through Jasmine’s idea of a husband in contrast to Blanche’s. Whilst Blanche is fixated on the idea of a “gentleman” and qualities within a man, Jasmine chooses men ba...

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