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Take pride in American literary heritage and see “A Streetcar Named Desire”


Fri, Sep 12th, 2003
Posted in Features

There’s a line in Streetcar Named Desire where high school English teacher Blanch Dubois laments the fact that her students don’t care much about their American literary heritage. And that got me to thinking about how, with the recent surge in patriotism and celebration of all things American, we don’t hear renewed enthusiasm for American literature or other American arts.

When Lee Greenwood sings, “God Bless the U.S.A.”, is he thinking of Mark Twain, Willa Cather, Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway? What could be more American than Huck Finn? Or Nick Adams, Jay Gatsby, or Cather’s Nebraska pioneer families?

Two literary characters who found their way into American pop culture in the 1950’s are Blanche Dubois and her brother-in-law, Stanley Kawolski, the creations of playwright Tennessee Williams in his Pulitzer prize winning play, A Streetcar Named Desire, which opened September 5 at the Commonweal Theatre in Lanesboro, under the direction of Core Artist Eric Lorentz Bunge.

These two characters became widely known through the 1951 film starring Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando. As Blanche Dubois, Vivien Leigh played a fallen, aging Southern woman who has spent her “better” years caring for dying relatives and watching the family fortune dwindle away. In a state of hidden desperation, she appears at the doorstep of her sister Stella who has long since abandoned the plantation for a working class life with her brutish husband, Stanley.

Stanley and Blanche become immediate enemies, each representing all that the other despises. Blanche represents the upper, educated class who Stanley perceives as critical of him and his kind. To Blanch, Stanley represents all that is unrefined and regrettable in human nature. They become trapped in a battle of loathing, but also in a strange, almost dangerous, fascination with each other.

Williams is best known for this play and The Glass Menagerie, both of which beautifully capture his tragic themes of vulnerability and misunderstanding.

As a playwright, Williams didn’t set out to make audiences laugh, and he didn’t offer classic heroes. His characters are often tragically misunderstood delicate creatures crushed by the uncaring world of machines and efficiency. In that sense, his plays serve as a warning as to what may happen if we fail to treat the most fragile among us tenderly
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Governor Pawlenty requests federal disaster aid for drought stricken counties

Fri, Sep 12th, 2003
Posted in Features

Governor Tim Pawlenty has announced that he will request that approximately 49 Minnesota counties be designated as federal agricultural disaster areas by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture because of severe drought. The Governor’s announcement came du ..... 
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Dayton says he will sponsor disaster relief bill for drought

Fri, Sep 12th, 2003
Posted in Features

Speaking in a teleconference on Wednesday with several media, including the Fillmore County Journal, Minnesota Senator Mark Dayton said that he would sponsor federal disaster aid legislation to provide relief for Minnesota farmers suffering crop loss ..... 
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Coleman cosponsors disaster relief bill for farmers

Fri, Sep 12th, 2003
Posted in Features

MN Senator Says Relief Bill Needed If Conditions Continue and Crop Insurance Falls Short

Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman has joined Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, both Arkansas Democrats, in cosponsoring a disaster rel ..... 
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Local hatcheries are key to trout fishing in Minnesota

Fri, Sep 5th, 2003
Posted in Features

Editor’s note: The Minnesota DNR, in consultation with interested parties, have put together a ten-year plan for improving trout fishing in southeastern Minnesota. This includes increasing the numbers of trophy size trout by improving habitat and imp ..... 
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Judge orders psychiatric evaluation in Morton manslaughter case

Fri, Sep 5th, 2003
Posted in Features

On Thursday, September 4, Judge Robert Benson ordered Trevor Lee Morton to undergo psychiatric evaluation at the St. Peter Security Hospital to see “if he is able to assist in his own defense.”

Morton, 30, of rural Spring Valley ..... 
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Trout stream plan aims to continue positive trend

Fri, Sep 5th, 2003
Posted in Features

Anglers will find more large trout on their lines if a new 12-year fisheries plan for southeastern Minnesota streams achieves its goals.

The plan, prepared by the Department of Natural Resources, aims to improve stream quality, ..... 
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Preston City Council Report: Sturgis Rules adopted

Fri, Sep 5th, 2003
Posted in Features

A more subdued and businesslike council worked together through Tuesday night’s agenda. Mayor David Pechulis requested a quiet moment for Council member Mike Gartner who is hospitalized.

Over the last few months council members ..... 
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Commissoner's Report: County Board goes down to the wire in making 2004 budget cuts

Fri, Sep 5th, 2003
Posted in Features

“It is not work that kills men; it’s worry. Worry is rust upon the blade.”  Henry Ward Beecher

“Not business as usual”, proclaimed Chairman Marc Prestby as painful deliberations continued at Tuesday’s co ..... 
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