My classes are held in 100-minute block sessions every other day. Activities in this lesson take one one class period to complete. The lesson below outlines Day Two on A Streetcar Named Desire. Please view the video overview for more information (Video: Overview of Day Two).
For all-class reading and discussion, teachers working with students who are building critical reading proficiency can use a teacher-developed study guide on the play as a resource. It includes discussion questions on each scene as well as extended learning opportunities. I have included it as a resource in this section and will include it in each subsequent lesson to facilitate its use.
I explain to students that today we are going to review Scenes I-III by distinguishing differences between the text and the clip (A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, Warner Bros., 2006). I ask students to list differences between the text and the clip as we view Scenes I-III. I point out that this is a black and white film, starring Marlon Brando (who most of them know from "The Godfather" films) and Vivien Leigh, who starred as Scarlet O'Hara in the film "Gone With the Wind." I explain that Vivien Leigh is quite believable as Blanche in my eyes because her character Scarlet in "Gone With the Wind" did everything she could to save the family home.
After we view the clip, I provide students with a few minutes to refer back to the text and finish their list of differences. Then, they share their findings with a partner. Some differences students find are as follows:
After students finish sharing their findings, I ask them to reflect on our findings and write a paragraph that answers the question: "How does viewing the clip affect your interpretation of the text?". I ask volunteers to share their writing (Student Work: Interpretation - Text v. Clip). Some student reflections are as follows:
Overall the students say that they enjoy watching the clip because they can check their comprehension of the text and get a visual interpretation of what they have read.
We continue reading the play, exploring Scenes IV and V, by listening to the audiobook (HarperCollins, 2008) from Audible. We read both scenes back to back due to time constraints. After reading, we discuss characterization; character motivation; and the tensions Williams develops in the text, such as Blanche and Stella's desires vs. reality. Highlights are below.
Students note that Blanche and Stella are diametrically opposed to one another due to their life choices. Stanley represents Stella's new life while Blanche represents her old life at Belle Reve. Stella seems caught in between her loyalty to Stanley and her loyalty to Blanche, but desire for Stanley consumes her.
I explain to students that since we are running out of time, I want them to write 20 discussion questions on the play through Scene V. We will use these questions for collaborative discussion of the text next class. Students have a few minutes to start in class and must finish for homework. Some questions are as follows: