Streetcar Named Desire Essay Research Paper English

Streetcar Named Desire Essay, Research Paper

English 3H 10-15-98

A Streetcar Named Desire

Essay Topic 2

In Tennessee William?s? play A Streetcar Named Desire, a major theme that

is present is reality versus illusion. In the play, Williams clearly tends to favor the

real world of Stanley and Stella Kowalski, than the imaginary world of the

unfortunate Blanche DuBois. He demonstrates that when the two worlds intersect,

reality will smash the artificial world of illusion.

The first evidence that proves Williams alliance with reality, is Blanche?s

life before New Orleans, in Laurel. Blanche had fell in love and married a boy

whom she thought of as perfect in every way. Unfortunately for her he is a

homosexual. This intrusion of reality breaks up her dream image of her husband,

and she tells him how he disgusts her. He then commits suicide, and Blanche

forever blames herself. These unpleasant realities that have invaded her life, make

her find refuge in promiscuous relationships with all kinds of men. She still

believes that she is a refined and respectable woman, but in reality she is nothing

but a tramp whom is forced to leave Laurel.

Another instance where the two worlds conflict is the night of the poker

game. When Stanley gets drunk and beats Stella, Blanche is extremely upset and

disgusted. His actions convince her that she must leave with Stella. She concocts a

ridiculous plan to run away with Shep Huntleigh, an acquaintance she had seen

long ago. Stella being more realistic, knows that this plan has no merit. She knows

that Stanley is crude and violent at times but she knows how to cope. Besides, she

is about to have a baby and cannot raise a child without a father. Stella decides to

stay with Stanley, and seems to forget about the event as if it never happened.

Stella has chosen Stanley over Blanche, and in the process choosing reality over


The two defining incidents in the play clearly show that Tennessee

Williams favors the world of reality. The moments before Stanley rapes Blanche is

the first time where Blanche gets the brutal reality to her face. Stanley bashes

every illusion that Blanche had believed. When Blanche says that Shep Huntleigh

had contacted her, Stanley immediately recognizes it as a lie, he states ? There

isn?t a goddam thing but imagination! and lies and conceit and tricks!?. Stanley

then rapes Blanche, shattering her world forever. Weeks after the episode, Blanche

could not convince anybody that she was raped, because nobody could believe her,

for she was always basing things around imagination. The world of reality defeats

Blanche when she is hauled off to a mental institution. The final incident that

solidifies Williams? alliance with reality, is the poignant scene where Stella

remains with Stanley after her only sister is removed from the house. Stella could

not let herself believe that Stanley had raped Blanche. Stanley comforts Stella,

implying that things will go back to the way they were. In a dream world, Stella

would have made a dramatic exit from Stanley, however in a real world people do

things that they have to do, rather than what they want to do. With a child involved

Stella, must remain with Stanley. Tennessee Williams has shown the victory of

reality over illusion.

In A Streetcar Named Desire , Tennessee Williams has demonstrated that

when the worlds of reality and imagination clash, realism will defeat and shatter

the dream world that a person has built for himself. He has clearly allied himself

with the forces of reality rather than illusion.


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