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A Streetcar Named Desire Essay

1151 words - 5 pages

In A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams focuses on Blanche's deception, paradoxically also identifying her as the most honest character in the play. He thus asks his audience to question whether true honesty is accepting harsh reality or recognizing the human need for magic, idealism, and lies to cope with life.Fantasy is a product of the imagination that one creates to escape the harsh realities of life. Blanche realizes her need to live in a made-up world. Ever since her husband's death, which she feels is her fault, she has never truly accepted the truths in her life. Since then, the light in her life has been switched off. The light that turns off is a symbol of Blanche's fantasyland. Ever since that incident, she has prevented herself from being exposed to light, both physically and emotionally, as she hides behind the shadow of a "˜candle's' faint shimmer. She continually longs to be the young girl who had fallen in love with her husband, the young girl who did not know of her loved one's homosexuality, and the young girl who was in love and care-free. That, in itself, is already a dream world. Yet, Blanche goes beyond dreaming. She continues to dress in clothes that make her seem "˜as if she were arriving at a summer tea or cocktail party' , keep her figure trim and slender, and wear enough make-up to hide the creases on her face that reveal her true age. Blanche even goes to the extent of staying away from sunlight and keeping the house light dim with the use of a Chinese lantern over the bulb, for she knows that light is the first and foremost giveaway to one's actual identity. Making herself feel and look young to herself and to others is a way for her to escape reality and return to the good, old days in which she was with her husband. In a way, she has not fully grasped the fact that her true loved one is dead and buried. Furthermore, another reason for her determination to look and feel young is the fact that she wants to be with a young man, because her former husband was young. Her attraction towards younger men is simply a hidden method used to pretend that she is still young with her young husband. As her features age, though, it becomes harder to keep her secret and live a pretend life.The song that Blanche sings while bathing is a popular 1940's ballad. The song includes the lyrics "It's a Barnum and Bailey world/ Just a phony as it can be/ But it wouldn't be a make believe/ If you believed in me..." The song is a summary of Blanche's situation with regard to Mitch. Her hope, as she sees it, rests in his believing her act or believing in her strongly enough to make the act reality.Though some people may slip into their own little worlds a little too often, they are at least honest, for they are admitting to themselves that they hate reality and would rather create a fake life than face the life that is laid out before them. Blanche shows that she knows what is going on, and she implies that she has a life...

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