How is Blanche’s illusionary world broken down in the play by others?
In the 1947 play A Streetcar Named Desire written by Tennessee Williams, there is an on going battle of rivalry between Stanley and Blanche, resulting to Blanche retreating into a world of illusions in order to protect herself. The two come from completely different societal worlds and have contrasting personalities, Stanley being powerful, controlling and strong and Blanche, being fragile, weak and vulnerable. Despite their hatred for each other and their differences they have many similar traits, including their use of sexuality and desperation to control others.
The primary noticeable difference between Stanley and Blanche are the worlds that they both come from. Blanche believes in an illusionary world of which the upper and lower class people are separated, education is valued, races are separated and purity is preserved. In contrast, Stanley comes from a patriarchal society, which is morally corrupt, sinful and amoral. In the opening scene, the stage directions “her expression is one of shocked disbelief. Her appearance is incongruous to this setting” conveys her difference in class and how Blanche already does not fit into this new world foreshadowing the end of the play when Blanche is pushed out of the new world. The dialogue “ they mustn’t have- understood- what number I wanted” highlights Blanche’s confusion as she arrives at Elysian Fields, which suggests that Blanche is entering into a world that she does not belong in. The use of the derogatory terms “negro”, “brown” and “one white and one coloured” all suggest that unlike in Blanche’s illusionary world, Stanley’s world, New Orleans does not separate races instead they intermingle. Throughout the play there are many references to animalistic qualities. Blanche is represented, as a “moth” of which is fragile and attracted to light, which leads to danger and death. Stanley is compared to a lion, a predator of power and...
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