Reality vs. Illusion
In Tennessee William's masterful play, A Streetcar Named Desire, the reader meets a middle aged woman by the name of Blanche DuBois. Blanche lives in her own faerie tale world, one of a young, beautiful debutante, surrounded by admirers, and loved by all whom she encounters. In reality, Blanche is an aging woman who cannot cope with the actualities of life. She makes up wild stories, and when Stanley Kowalski, her brother in law, rapes her, the realities of life cause her to drift into absolute lunacy.
Blanche appears at the apartment house where her sister, Stella, lives. She brings with her a trunk of fancy clothing, and a mind of dreams she believes are reality. As Stanley unravels Blanche's story, she makes up wilder and wilder claims, hoping to place her life back into her own hands. According to Blanche's story, in her hometown of Laurel, she had lived in the Hotel Flamingo after the plantation was lost. While living there, she was surrounded by admirers, the same as she always had been. However, what Blanche really did was sleep around, pretending she had several admirers, but always winding up alone.
Furthermore, Blanche claims to have an old friendship with a man who is now a millionaire, a certain Mr. Shep Huntleigh. She believes that if she needs help at any m point in time, especially monetary aid, "darling Shep" will be there to cable in some money. Shep Huntleigh represents Blanche's idea of the perfect man, a rich, debonair, suave gentleman. She sees Stanley as everything but that perfect man, cruel to her sister and even crueler to herself. Blanche constantly claims she is going to go off and see Shep, and after Mitch reveals his knowledge of the truth about her, she claims she is going to spend a month or so abroad. "I received a telegram from an old admirer of mine," she claims, "A cruise of the Caribbean on a yacht!" However, Stanley crushes her spirit...