Fantasy vs. Reality | Blanche vs. Stanley

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”A Streetcar Named Desire” is a play written by the late Tennessee Williams. Published in 1947, the play opened on Broadway later that year, and was adapted into a film in 1951. The play received tremendous reviews, and, as of today, is considered a timeless classic. The story is set in postwar New Orleans, in an urban working class neighborhood where Stella DuBois lives with her husband, Stanley Kowalski. One day Stella’s sister, Blanche, comes to visit. Blanche is a fading southern belle, slightly older than Stella, and works as a representative for Stella’s old high-class life at their childhood home, a big plantation in Mississippi called Belle Rêve. There is a notable tension in the air between the two sisters, and conflict arises when Stanley, Stella’s husband, immediately develops distaste for Blanche. When Stanley discovers hidden truths about Blanche’s past, Blanche is forced to deal with the confrontation. However, Blanche refuses to accept the harsh reality that has now caught up with her. Stanley rapes her, and in the end of the play, Stella, who does not believe her sister’s story, submits the disillusioned Blanche into a mental hospital. Fantasy versus reality is a theme that dominates much of the play, and Williams explore much of this contrast through the characters of Stanley Kowalski and Blanche DuBois.

Stanley and Blanche are complete opposites of each other: While Blanche dreams of a voluptuous lifestyle filled with rich suitors and great wealth, Stanley is a simple brute, so to say, who has had to work hard for everything in life; he prefers to face the truth as it is, plain and simple. In addition to this, they come from completely different backgrounds. To understand why Blanche’s personality cannot exist along with Stanley’s interpretation of reality, one has to look back at her past and what she went through prior to her visit to New Orleans. As Blanche is Stella’s sister, they come from the same background; they were both born and...
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