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An Illusion Named Desire Essay

1784 words - 8 pages

One of the most deeply explored motifs in Tennessee Williams play “A Street Car Named Desire” is the idea of illusion and of living in an imaginary world. Throughout the play the reader sees from the perspective of the lady of the old south, Miss Blanche Dubois, as she slowly losses her grasp on sanity as her obscene past is revealed, crushing her personal image of sophistication and purity. Her slow decent into a fantasy world is strongly contrasted by her sister’s husband, Stanley Kowalski, with his down to earth realism which acts as a factor to contribute to Blanche’s deteriorating mental state. Tennessee Williams strongly focuses on portraying the idea that everyone sees the world in a ...view middle of the document...

Undoubtedly the mysterious character of Blanche Dubois serves as one of the greatest examples of someone who utilizes illusion to cope with their problems. As her character progresses throughout the play, the reader sees as she builds imaginary walls around her in self-defense, from the demons that are haunting her, as well as from the “real” world that surrounds her. Blanche acts the way she does because her perfect life had taken a turn for the worst, with the loss of Belle Reve, the death of her mother, the suicide of her young husband and the fading of her youth, her life began to lose meaning and began to look less bright and joyful than it did before. To regain the “acceptance” of men and to vindicate the continuity of her youth and beauty, she turned towards a sordid hotel, largely known for its prostitution. In scene seven the reader learns from Stanley that she was kicked out from the establishment for her “scandalous behavior”. Which shows she was engaged in a significant amount of sexual behavior, that even a hotel renowned for such dealings, found it to be overly excessive. After losing even the disreputable acceptance from selling her body, she turned towards the last person she knew, so she may start fresh without a negative reputation and forget about the past. Her positive reputation did not hold for long, as her conflict with her sister’s husband, drew him to expose past dealings. At that point Blanch was left clinging to her last hope of acceptance, and to sustain it she began replacing the truth with lies. Early on in the play the reader learns that Blanches philosophy “a woman’s charm is fifty percent illusion” showing that she has a strong belief that as a woman, she cannot contain an image consisting of the full truth. Making it very natural for her to lie when she found the need for it. Tennessee shows very thoroughly that she attempts to cover up her past because of her inability to cope with the hard truth of the world. Yet as the play progresses we see Stanley push her deeper and deeper into her own imaginary world as he digs through her past painful experiences, by digging through her trunk, he shows her that she has lost everything and that there remains nothing of value left about her. As well as by bringing up her past in laurel, he shows her that she has lost her most prized possessions of youth and beauty. These thoughts drive Blanche to get so engulfed in her own world of lies that she loses the grasp between reality and what she had created, slipping into a world of her own creation. One can imagine that even though she has lost her sanity that she would be much happier in her perfect world than to live with the truth of having lost all you hold dear.
Blanches dear sister Stella Kowalski, lives within a constant struggle between her old wealthy family traditions of living within a perfect world of their creation and the new found views of living in a world of harsh reality. Because she has lived with Stanley...

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