Themes within 'A Streetcar Named Desire': Illusion v Reality pt 1

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  • A Streetcar Named Desire: Tension Between Illusion and Reality
    • 'white suit'
      • Technique:Colour imagery
      • Analysis: introduction of Southern Belle façade
        • Innocence, chastity, moral purity, affluence
    • 'Yes?...Yes...Yes.'
      • Monosyllabic replies
        • Evasive, hiding her dark and promiscuous past from Eunice
          • Attempt to start a new life in her Southern Belle façade
    • 'rhinestone tiara she wore to a costume ball'
      • Antithetical images
        • Symbolic of Blanche's façade of affluence, depicts her nostalgia of a wealthier life, which she is haunted by and can't let go
    • 'coloured paper lantern'
      • Stagecraft/motif
        • Throughout the play, remains a symbol of fear of exposure and Blanche's deep-rooted fear of reality
    • 'I can't stand a naked lightbulb'
      • Photophobia
        • Naked bulb signifies lack of wealth/lack of care for rich decoration, implies Blanche's insecurity about hiding her impurity and impoverished state
    • 'Shep Huntleigh'
      • Motif
        • Functions as Blanche's fantasy of a chivalric Southern gentelmansaviour
          • Clings onto in order to keep herself grounded and hopeful of escape
            • Significant that she remains reliant on a man for help
    • '[without waiting for him to accept] + 'My Rosenkavalier!'
      • Allusion to opera and skilful juxtaposition
        • Opera - 'the knight with the roses
          • Emphasises Blanche's desire to be bourgeoisie by affiliating herself with middle and upper class leisure activities
          • Forcing Mitch to conform to chivalric Southern gentleman figure whilst she had previously been preying on a young boy
            • Reality = predatory, promiscuous woman
    • '[Blanche is singing in the bathroom a saccharine popular ballad which is used contrapuntally with Stanley's speech]'
      • Juxtaposition in stagecraft
        • The tension between illusion and reality, an unveiling of her façade
          • Dramatic irony is catalysed by Blanche's maintenance of her façade in the bathroom, which is contrasted by Stanley  destroying her façade
    • 'Say,its only a paper moon'
      • Juxtaposition
        • Optimistic tone, wish for Mitch's trust, blissful ignorance
    • 'scarlet satin robe'
      • Colour imagery
        • Comparison to white, seductive - façade is crumbling
    • '[he tears the paper later off the light-bulb'
      • Violent verb
        • Literally and metaphorically tears Blanche's façade down
          • Fear of reality/exposure removal from blissful ignorance,defenceless
    • '[moves in awkward imitation, like a dancing bear]'
      • Zoomorphic simile
        • Comical, absurd, and animalistic image
          • The zoomorphic image 'bear' implies that Mitch can be primate and dangerous just like Stanley
            • Portraying Mitch's attempt to conform to the Old Southern gentleman stereotypeand to Blanche's chivalric Old Southern gentleman saviour figure fantasy

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