Reality And Illusion In A Streetcar Named

Desire Essay, Research Paper

Reality Defined

Every human being has a vision of a perfect life. If they did not it would be somewhat immortal. So does Blanche the main character of A Streetcar Named Desire. The only difference is Blanche has sunken to the greatest depths of her illusion and isn t willing to except the reality of her life. Blanche is so lost and involved in living her life as an illusion that she is hurting everyone who cares about her; she accomplishes this by fabricating her past. In Tennessee Williams A Streetcar Named Desire, Blanches unwillingness to accept reality contributes to her breakdown. One is lead to believe this for the following reasons, her unwillingness to accept the reality of her downfall in social ranking, her unwillingness to accept the reality of her physical decline, and her unwillingness to accept the reality of her promiscuous relationships.

First of all, Blanche s unwillingness to accept reality is seen through her inability to accept her decline in social status, which contributes to her mental breakdown. Her inability to accept her decline in social status is seen when Blanche goes to Elysian Fields to stay at her sister Stella s house. The following quotation shows the audience of Blanches unwillingness to accept the reality of where she is now going to spend quite a while, She looks at a slip of paper, then at the building, then again at the slip and again at the building. Her expression is one of shock [and] disbelief. (Williams 15) This also tells the reader that Blanche is ashamed of the descent in her status due to her present residence. Blanche s unwillingness is further shown when she asks Stella, Why didn t you tell me [how you live], Why didn t you tell me, honey, why didn t you let me know [about your living conditions]? (Williams 21) Blanche cannot comprehend the fact that she or anyone close to her is poor. Blanche has gone through a lot of anxiety due to the fact that her family estate Belle Reve was lost to creditors. She is deeply saddened and disturbed because her living conditions are not going to improve at her sister s house. Furthermore, Blanche s inability to accept her downfall in social ranking causes her royal behavior, excuse me while I slip on my pretty new dress. (Williams 37) Her exorbitant accessories cause Stanley s questioning about her financial resources. Consequently, Stanley s confrontation leads to her mental instability.

Secondly, her unwillingness to accept the reality of her physical decline also leads to her breakdown. Blanche s hatred of light is seen when she tells Mitch, I like it dark. It is comforting to me. (Williams 116) As a result this reveals she is afraid to show people her physical self because dimness hides the signs of aging. Blanche s vision of perfection is physical beauty and glamour. She is so obsessed about looking attractive that nothing else matters in her life. Furthermore, this illuminates the degree to which Blanche is willing to deny her physical declination. Blanche is so unwilling to accept the reality of the change in her physical appearance, that when Stanley is tearing off the paper lantern, She cries out as if the lantern was herself. (William 140) Blanche is so into this imaginary world that even the slightest thing that brings her close to life is causing her to break apart. She has been living in an illusion for so long that she doesn t want to reveal herself to the real world. Furthermore, she is so reluctant to accept her physical decline because she found companionship in one of her students. The audience learns about this incident when Blanche informs Mitch about her affairs, Intimacies with strangers was all I seemed to fill my empty heart with at last, in a seventeen year old boy. This affair with someone almost half her age shows her resistance to face the truth. Blanche is a human being who demands love and attention. Hence, Blanche has dug a pit for herself, the more she is avoiding her physical deterioration the deeper she is falling and she eventually falls into insanity.

Finally, her unwillingness to accept the reality of her promiscuous relationships leads to her breakdown. Blanche does this by fabricating the reality of her intimate relationships to those close to her. This is clearly seen when Stella questions Blanche the reason for leaving her job at the school; Blanche replies by saying, I was so exhausted by all I d been through my-nerves broke. Mr. Graves the high school superintendent suggested I take a leave of absence. This shows that Blanche is so far away from reality that she does not feel the importance of informing her sister about her life. Blanche does not realize how serious lying to Stella actually is. It is because of Blanche s dishonesty to Stella that she looses trust in her. In the end, it is because of Blanche s dishonesty that Stella is reluctant to believe Stanley raped her, which sends Blanche to the asylum. Blanche not only lies to Stella but she also duplicities to Mitch the only person that she has a chance of establishing a permanent relationship with. This is seen when Blanche says, I don t want realism. I want magic! (Williams 117) and I don t tell truth, I tell what ought to be the truth. And if that is sinful let me be damned for it! (Williams 117) These quotations depict Blanche s obsession of not considering the relevance of reality, but also how far fetched she is from the real world . It is because of this dishonesty, she has lost Mitch, who was her last chance of turning her dark life into brightness. The result of Blanche s deception is clearly visible, which undoubtedly takes her life away from her.

It is clearly evident that Blanche s reluctance to accept the reality of her disoriented life which causes her downfall. In order to cover up her new social ranking, her physical decline, and the reality of her past relationships Blanche continuously reminds herself and others about her farmer high class status, deceits those close to her. She also doesn t recognize the importance of reality. Unfortunately, because of all this her life ends in tragedy.


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