Author & Background

      New Orleans is famous for its music - Jazz, which could be heard in any places and any time, on festivals, funerals, street corners and wherever you like, you are free to play, to sing and to hear it. It is the music full of true feelings and emotions. It is also a city of diversity which includes old regions of France and Spain as well as the modern view of a big city.

 New Orleans was once French colony in the 17th century. That's why even nowadays, the French styles still can be seen. New Orleans is in the State of Louisiana which is in memory of French king Louis fourteenth, and New Orleans is named after a French Duke, La Nouvelle Orleans. In history, New Orleans was ruled by the French and the Spanish for a long time. Under this circumstances, itís amazing to see the rapid growth of Jazz and its popularity.

     The popularity of Jazz relates to the Negro slavery history there. The economy is built up by the labor of the black. They work in the cotton farm, and are slaved and oppressed by the white. They need a way to release the tension, sorrow and many kinds of feelings in their miserable life. That's why Jazz is then growing from the traditional African music - Ragtime. In the beginning, Jazz bands are prohibited because the players are black, however, they are popular everywhere, because the music can communicate with people.

 Jazz can be presented in various ways, as long as everyone enjoys it. There are many Jazz pubs and bars in New Orleans, among them, Bourbon Street is the famous area for its music and the life of the night. The black can gather in the street and improvise some jazz any time.

        Walking in New Orleans, immersing in jazz, surrounding by old buildings with delicate porch and ornamented galleries which are influenced by the French, the pictures in "Streetcar Named Desire" will easily get into your mind. The charm of this city is characterized by the mixture of the sorrow and complexity of its black-and -white history, and the overflowing emotions of jazz, the music of the soul.
 Tennessee Williams, who was born in Columbus, Mississippi, which locates in the southern part of America, is deeply influenced by the southern culture and in many of his novels or fictions, southern typical women and black , or other issues are presented. In his time, the industrial power of the north is threatening the south, especially its history of southern agrarianism.

     The type of old-fashioned agrarianism counters the materialism and cultural barbarism of the North which is threatening to destroy what is best in the southern tradition.  In many of William's works, he shows the conflicts between materialism and agrarianism. One example is Stanley and Blanch in "Streetcar Named Desire". Stanley represents the material type who works in a factory and only cares about things he possesses, but not spiritual things, while Blanch is a typical southern woman from a big family who owns a large plantation, but they are falling into decay.

 Tennessee Williams lives in the period of the Southern Renaissance and he is one of the stars at that time, even till nowadays, his contribution to the stature of the Southern Renaissance remains to be seen. The Southern Renaissance is an significant phenomena in American culture which is the emergence of a rich and varied literature about the south in the middle decades of the twentieth century. Writers from this area have distinguished themselves in poetry, fiction, and drama; in journalism of a high order; in the academic fields of criticism and editing; and in a line of textbooks that has changed the pattern of the teaching of literature.

  This literary flowering began a group of writers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, including Tennessee Williams. First, they raised the issues about the threat from the North to the southern society, and later they became concern with the predicament of the poet in a society threatened to be torn apart by an industrial code of values imposed by the North. They became academic founders of the recently exclusive "New Criticism". The greatest figure of  them is Tennessee Williams, whose real name is William Faulkner.

     The town and the surrounding territory where Williams lives provide theme and material for his many novels and stories which refer not merely to this limited territory, nor even to the entire South, but to the tragic condition of modern man. His fiction encompasses a rich and complex overlay of several civilizations; they range from the life of the Indian to that of the Negro slave; toe the disruption of southern culture after the Civil War; to the cheap and corrupt materialism of a later industrial society; to the fragmented, external twentieth century life in which all religious and moral codes have become mechanical rituals.

 Tennessee Williams creates a wide range of characters largely from his own imagination. He is a writer of inexhaustible imagination and energy, but his work continues to grow out of a close observation of life and people. The same characters may appear; but each story is very different because each has its emphasis which develops another phase. He is good at creating characters.

 He became a name after the reception of "The Glass Menagerie" in New York City. He is the winner produced by the south and the Southern Renaissance, but whether he has contributed to the stature of the Southern Renaissance is still a controversial question, because his success is spectacular and popular and no figure on the contemporary literary scene has aroused so much critical disagreement. Of course everybody agreed that his is talented, but some criticize his lack of artistic discipline and his limited view of life, because he created a number of type characters from theory or prejudice again and again. He knows what people want to see and he catches  people's taste, his stories soon became popular in the commercial theater. He writes books to teach people how to write a play, but only theoretically, he doesnít write the way he teaches.

      His stories present some part of the south, but not the whole, and shows his own personal likes and dislikes, for example, his portray of businessmen, usually a villain or a clown, is often a caricature created out of dramatic need or a theory.

@About New Orleans:

@About "streetcar named desire":