I recently saw Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine, a movie that makes as many references to Tennessee Williams's play Streetcar Named Desire, a choice on your independent choice summer reading list, as it does to the real story of Bernie and Ruth Madoff, the wealthy Ponzi scheme financier and his trusting wife who claimed not to know about her husband's actions against thousands of investors. Those of you that read Streetcar, which I just finished rereading, have perhaps already seen the famous Elia Kazan film version starring Marlon Brando, who originated the role of Stanley Kowalski on Broadway, or some other film version of the play, but I do suggest that you might want to take a look at Allen's Blue Jasmine, now playing in the movies, and if you go to a matinee performance of the play, as I did, you might be able to get in cheaper! Allen updates many of the questions that Williams raises in his play: What is the price of the illusions that we choose to live with when truth is too painful to face? To what extent is Blanche (in the play) and Jasmine, formerly Jeannette) in Allen's film to blame for her fall from "grace?" Compare the way these two characters cope with their shattered lives and illusions. You might find it interesting to make parallels between the Stanley character in the play and the "Stanley" types in Allen's movie. And again, if you do see the movie, it helps to know something about the rise and fall of Ponzi scheme financier Bernie Madoff and his wife Ruth, whose life--and possible, but not likely, innocence about her husband's financial treachery. Does Allen compare the life-style of the wealthy Wall Street crowd to the lifestyle and values of the old South, embodied in the "lost" mansion and plantation Belle Reve in Tennessee Williams's play?
So, if you have read the play, but have not yet see a movie version of the play for your summer reading requirement, see Blue Jasmine or add it to a viewing of a filmed version of Williams's play. You'll find it gives you lots of food for thought as you analyze the play. The link that follows is the New York Times review of Allen's film, including a film clip, that doesn't give too much of the story away. http://movies.nytimes.com/2013/07/26/movies/cate-blanchett-stars-in-woody-allens-blue-jasmine.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
If you have read Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire, seen a movie version such as the famous MarlonBrando-Vivian Leigh version, and/or decide to see Blue Jasmine, feel free to comment here on what these stories reveal about the human condition. I look forward to reading your thoughts.