“These fingernails have to be trimmed. Jacket doctor,” utters the Matron in the final scene, a sorrowful conclusion to the previously doomed fate of Blanche DuBois. Imagine living a lie, an illusion; afraid of coming out of the dark past and into the warm, bright light of present reality and the not-so-distant luminous future. In the play A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, the eccentric protagonist Blanche manages to do just that. The play begins in New Orleans, where Blanche DuBois, a schoolteacher from Laurel, Mississippi, arrives at the apartment of her sister, Stella Kowalski. Blanche’s social condescension and mysterious loss of her family’s prized plantation wins her the instant dislike of Stella’s husband, Stanley Kowalski. Blanche wins the affections of one of Stanley’s closest friends, Mitch, but as tensions between the residents of the small apartment rise, turmoil ensues, including the abuse of Stella by her husband, the unearthing of Blanche’s darkest secrets, the end of her relationship with Mitch, and Stanley’s most savage act, rape. Throughout all of the commotion in the play Blanche’s fragile character is evident by many of her uneasy quirks and delicate yet disturbed nature. The cited passage focuses on two significant functions such as developing the motif of light and characterizing her gradually declining mental state, consequentially leading to complete insanity. Trough the whole of the play, Blanche’s life seems to be heading in a downward spiral and the final image at the end of the play is a sad culmination of her vanity and total dependence upon men for happiness, as she is lead away to a mental institution by the kindness of a stranger; kindness she had always depended on.
One function of the cited passage is to reinforce the light motif. Throughout the play, Blanche Dubois constantly avoids bright light and appears to be fearful of it, going as far as to buy Chinese paper light shades to... [continues]
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