The Line Between Reality and Fantasy
In the play A Streetcar Named Desire (ASND) by Tennessee Williams, one of the big themes from the play is the theme of illusion. Stella, Stanley, and Blanche allow illusion to shape and control their lives because they all see it as the best way towards happiness. Blanche’s life is an illusion because she wants to believe that she is still young, beautiful, and innocent while trying to hide from her past. While the role that illusion plays in Stella’s life is the fact that while she can see that her marriage is far from perfect, she acts like nothing is wrong just to keep herself from not having the family she would like. Stanley’s illusion is his delusion between love and desire, and not being the husband that he needs to be.
Blanche’s life is draped in illusion because she is ashamed with the person that she has become and wants to believe that she is a young, beautiful woman that catches the eye of many men, instead of the aged southern belle with a past to forget. In ASND, Blanche cannot stop lying to cover up the person that she really is. In scene 7, Stanley reveals to Stella how Blanche lied to Mitch about having only kissed someone else and has gone no further (98-99). This is a prime example of Blanche’s illusion as she wants to believe that she is still pure, and being a virgin is one of the things that you would think of when talking about purity. It is later revealed in the play that Blanche has gone after younger men because it is way of proving to herself that she is still beautiful even though they only are in it for the sex. It also reminds her of when she first fell in love with her future husband Allan and she says that “intimacies with strangers was all I seemed able to fill my empty heart with” (118) which shows that she was trying to escape the guilt she felt after Allan’s suicide. Back when she lived in Belle Reve, there was an army camp full of training recruits and she would let them into...
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