- Created by: EllenMa15
- Created on: 25-02-17 15:50
Fantasy and inability to overcome reality
Blanche explains to Mitch that she fibs because she refuses to accept the hand fate has dealt her.
Lying to herself and to others allows her to make life appear as it should be rather than as it is.
Stanley, a practical man firmly grounded in the physical world, disdains Blanche’s fabrications and does everything he can to unravel them.
The antagonistic relationship between Blanche and Stanley is a struggle between appearances and reality.
It propels the play’s plot and creates an overarching tension.
Sex and Death
Blanche’s fear of death manifests itself in her fears of aging and of lost beauty. She refuses to tell anyone her true age or to appear in harsh light that will reveal her faded looks.
She seems to believe that by continually asserting her sexuality, especially toward men younger than herself, she will be able to avoid death and return to the world of teenage bliss she experienced before her husband’s suicide.
beginning in Scene One, Williams suggests that Blanche’s sexual history is in fact a cause of her downfall. When she first arrives at the Kowalskis’, Blanche says she rode a streetcar named Desire, which brought her to a street named Elysian Fields. This journey, the precursor to the play, allegorically represents the trajectory of Blanche’s life. The Elysian Fields are the land of the dead in Greek mythology.
Throughout the play, Blanche is haunted by the deaths of her ancestors, which she attributes to their “epic fornications.”
Her husband’s suicide results from her disapproval of his homosexuality. The message is that indulging one’s desire in the form of unrestrained promiscuity leads to forced departures and unwanted ends.
In Scene Nine, when the Mexican woman appears selling “flowers for the dead,” Blanche reacts with horror because the woman announces Blanche’s fate.
Her fall into madness can be read as the ending brought about by her dual flaws—her inability to act appropriately on her desire and her desperate fear of human mortality. Sex and death are intricately and fatally linked in Blanche’s experience.
Dependence on men STELLA
Williams uses Blanche’s and Stella’s dependence on men to expose and critique the treatment of women during the transition from the old to the new South.
Blanche and Stella see male companions as their only means to achieve happiness, and they depend on men for their self-image. Blanche recognizes that Stella could be happier without her physically abusive husband, Stanley. Yet, the alternative Blanche proposes contacting Shep Huntleigh for financial support still involvesdependence on men. Stella chooses to remain with Stanley - Stanley represents a much more secure future than Blanche does.
Dependence on men BLACHE
For herself, Blanche sees marriage to Mitch as her means of escaping destitution. Men’s exploitation of Blanche’s sexuality has left her with a poor reputation.
This reputation makes Blanche an unattractive marriage prospect, but, because she is destitute, Blanche sees marriage as her only possibility for survival.
When Mitch rejects Blanche because of Stanley’s gossip about her reputation, Blanche immediately thinks of another man—the millionaire Shep Huntleigh—who might rescue her.
Because Blanche cannot see around her dependence on men, she has no realistic conception of how to rescue herself. Blanche does not realize that her dependence on men will lead to her downfall rather than her salvation.
By relying on men, Blanche puts her fate in the hands of others.