Themes in 'A Streetcar Named Desire': Illusion v Reality pt 2

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  • A Streetcar Named Desire Themes: Tension Between Illusion and Reality
    • '[blind with tenderness]'
      • Metaphor
        • Desire outweighs self-respect, anger and pain
          • Stella evading reality
    • '[narcotised tranquility that is in the faces of Eastern idols]'
      • Intoxicating attraction towards Stanley renders her oblivious to the reality of her pain and the abysmal state of her relationship
        • Unhealthy,addictive relationship
          • Acceptance of peace with suffering
    • 'blue denim shirt' + 'unshaven'
      • Working class appearance/description
        • Mitch is no longer conforming to the stereotype forced on him by Blanche, and he realises that Blanche is not a true Southern Belle
    • '[he tears the paper lantern off he light-bulb]'
      • Violent stage direction
        • Blanche's façade is finally torn down and seen by Mitch
          • Suggesting a violent removal from her blissful ignorance
            • Exposes Mitch's true nature as a primitive,violent working class man
    • 'I don't want realism...I'll tell you what I want. Magic!'
      • Explicit rejection of reality and truth
        • Wants to live a fantastical/surreal life
    • 'I tell what ought to be the truth'
      • Idealist
        • Believes in 1940's ideals and stereotypes
    • 'soiled and crumpled satin evening gown'
      • Costume
        • Once a symbol of purity and part of the Southern Belle façade which Blanche wishes to follow, now a symbol of corruption and impurity whilst the façade is exposed
    • '[slams the mirror face down with such violence the glass cracks]'
      • Violent rejection of the reality of her physical, moral and ,mental decline
        • Blanche remains desiring magic and her façade
    • 'I couldn't believe her story and go on living with Stanley'
      • Lack of female solidarity in 1940's America, Stella has financial and emotional dependence on Stanley as well as depending him to relieve her of her desire
        • Stella's deliberate choice to evade reality of physical and sexual abuse
  • 'red satin robe'
    • Costume and colour imagery
      • Attempt to impress chivalric saviour figure, abandonment of the Southern Belle façade and has adopted a new image of a femme fatale figure
  • 'die of eating an unwashed grape'
    • Absurd image
      • Dignified, clean, easy death with a sense of bourgeois elegance and affluence
        • Lacks violence and potentiallypainless
  • 'nice-looking ship's doctor'
    • Shallow, affluent, desire to be with an educated man
      • Potentially sees herself as superior to those around her, especially those of the working class
        • Retaining obsession of a chivalric saviour figure
  • 'at sea sewn up in a clean white sack'
    • Colour imagery and sibilance
      • Peaceful and gentle death, final attempt to recover her purity and dignity in death, finding peace


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