In a Streetcar Named Desire - there is a conflict between Illusion and reality, Blanche Dubois arrives in New Orleans with the impression of a patronising, wealthy school teacher who has no time for those who she believes to be below her class as we see in her rudeness to Eunice at the very beginning. As the play progresses we see that Blanche is merely projecting a persona which hides both her past and the inevitably grim future that awaits her. On the other side we have Blanche’s brother-in-law Stanley who acts in opposition of the illusion which Blanche has created and takes it upon himself to expose Blanche for what she really is. Blanche like all human beings is not infallible in her illusion as her own body and actions betray her at times reveal that the true Blanche Dubois lies just beneath the surface, for example her nerves show her reliance on alcohol.
Blanche throughout the entire play portrays a character which is not truly her own, from the beginning she appears to believe herself above everyone she meets, especially her own sister Stella as we see in Blanche’s disappointment at Stella’s home. Despite this from the very beginning it’s obvious that Blanche is prone to hiding the true image of herself, physical and mental “Turn that over light off! Turn that off! I won’t be looked at in this merciless glare.” Blanche’s aversion to be seen clearly in the light is evident throughout the entire play and symbolises her need to impair people’s view of her true self. Blanche gives the impression of being superior incessantly through showing her culture and telling false stories like that of Shep Huntleigh.
Williams establishes the extreme difference between illusion and reality with Blanche’s conversation with Stella on how the ceremony of the funeral does nothing to illustrate the truth of death “Funerals are quiet with pretty flowers. And, oh, what gorgeous boxes they pack them away in! Unless you were there at the bed when they cried out, ‘Hold...
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