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Created by L. Lopez, 3/31/03
Sample Research Paper Outline for
A Streetcar Named Desire

Body Color Key:

Maroon - General Reason Book is Good
Red - Example from Text
Green - Specific Details from Text


A. Read classical literature in HS under duress-causes frustration
B. Introduce newer literature and Streetcar
C. THESIS: Although A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams is not a typical
    part of the canon of high school literature, it is in fact a worthwhile book to read.

A. Universal Theme (TS Elliot Quote)
    1. tension and conflict brought on by loneliness
        a. Blanche
            -says she needs to be near somebody
        b. Mitch
           -worries about being alone after mother dies
           -lost loved one-girlfriend

B. Indirect, Subtle Characterization (Ginder Quote)
    1. Men as animals
        a. Stan - barbaric "ape"
            -exposes and rapes Blanche
        b. Mitch - "dancing bear"
           -dangerous-scene 9 attack of Blanche

C. Use of Colors and Clothes (Fosters Quote)
    1. Blanche
        a. white-purity
        b. della robbia blue jacket-Madonna-purity
        c. red satin robe-sensual
        d. soda spills on dress
        e. stains on white dress (sullied innocence)

D. Use of Symbols - Require careful Reading (Conolly Quote)
    1. Lampshade symbolizes Blanche
        a. scene 11, TW says Blanche is lampshade
        b. first appears in scene 3 as deception with Mitch begins
        c. light=harsh reality; therefore, no strong light (Allan spotlight quote)
        d. Mitch tears lampshade as deception ends
        e. Stanley seizes lampshade and Blanche is destroyed

    2. Significant Title (Lord of the Flies Title Quote)
       a. Streetcar/travel=journey of life/characters motivated by desire
           -men in family's desires lead Blanche to Elysian Fields
           -Blanche's many intimacies lead her to Elysian Fields
           -Blanche many "intimacies" used to battle death, "the opposite is desire"
           -Stella stays with Stan because of sexual desire
           -Stan fondles Stella at end of play-desire still reigns

    A. Summarize major points of paper
    B. Restate thesis
    C. Add closing "clincher" sentence

After you have an outline, you are ready to write your first draft.