• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss the theme of illusion and reality in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Corrigan has said that "the conflict between Blanche and Stanley is an externalisation of the conflict that goes on within Blanche between illusion and reality." Discuss the theme of illusion and reality in A Streetcar Named Desire. Blanche and Stanley are the two protagonists in A Streetcar Named Desire, and their views are polarised. Stanley represents complete realism and Blanche is fantastical and idealistic, the schism between the two clearly shows the struggle between reality and illusion in the play. Stanley's aim is to obliterate the nostalgic and fantastical reverie that dominates Blanche's mindset. The title of the play suggests a struggle between reality and illusion as the mundane concreteness of "streetcar" and the abstract quality of aspiration evoked in "desire" point to the juxtaposition of conflicting themes of realism and dreams. Blanche lives in a dream world, her reference to a "Barnum and Bailey world" in scene seven exposes the "phony" world she has created in her mind. ...read more.

Middle

It shows an ability to face the truth, however bitter it may be. Blanche cannot stand bright light. She has made the mistake of being "deluded" by Allan's entry into her life; a "blinding light". His suicide left her in desolation and darkness as the "searchlight on the world" was extinguished. Ever since his death, she has avoided light, the symbol of truth. Light is an enemy to her, for she knows it can destroy her illusions. When Mitch pulls her into the light to expose the truth of her appearance and age, Blanche's dream world is destroyed. She is left with no hope and no future. The headlight of the locomotive frequently passing outside also brings on the same fear of exposure. Stanley aims to ruin Blanche's dreams. He is obsessed with unmasking her lies and wants pure, harsh realism to prevail. He tells Blanche of how his disapproves of women who put on airs and graces and who "give themselves credit for more than they've got". ...read more.

Conclusion

He destroys her completely as he dismantles her dream world. Exposing her as a fraud and finally obliterating her sustaining belief that she could find safety and "protection" in men by raping her. Blanche's ideals become so confused that she cannot face reality at all; Stanley has only pushed her further into her dreams. Reality and illusion come into conflict in the play under the guise of these two characters, however, neither wins as Blanche becomes completely deluded and bewildered and Stanley has not managed to make her face reality, as he desperately wanted to do. Ironically, there is a strong sense at the close of the play that Stanley will come under threat from the reality and honesty he tries so hard to uphold; the sense that his marriage will suffer as Stella carries the enduring doubt as to whether Stanley is innocent. Blanche constantly faces reality and then retreats into her dream world in A Streetcar Named Desire, Stanley is the brutal adversary who desperately tries to suppress Blanche's imagination, and instead only pushes her away as she retreats completely into fantasia. Ali Llewellyn K 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level A Street Car Named Desire section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level A Street Car Named Desire essays

  1. A Streetcar Named Desire - scenes 2 and 3 reviewed.

    * Blanche; 'I bought this adorable little coloured paper lantern at a Chinese shop on Bourbon. Put it over the light bulb!'- There is a lot of covering up done by Blanche. She is literally covering up with paper lamp. Mitch will get rid if this lantern in scene 10.

  2. 'Cat on A Hot Tin Roof' and 'A Streetcar Named Desire' are plays in ...

    Therefore, it is apparent that she has been nurturing the illusion that she was truly appreciated and important to her husband. This apprehension is somewhat tragic for Big Mama, as now she has to face a future where her husband is not only brutal in his manner towards her, but

  1. Language in 'A Streetcar Named Desire'.

    almost a warning of his hot temper, as they mostly relate to a bad or violent mood. Mitch You can see beyond the character of Mitch in the way he uses language. He can be quite gentle at times, and say things to impress Blanche.

  2. How important are illusions and fantasy as themes in 'A Streetcar Named Desire?'

    I feel that this was an aim of Williams in creating so many fantasies and illusions in the play, and are as a result, an important theme in the play itself. Blanche genuinely believes that creating illusions about herself and her life are essential for survival in the world, and

  1. A streetcar named desire - Exploration notes context/structure/language/plot&subplot/visual aural spatial.

    Memory recall is about the truth of the past, yet because Blanche can't let it go she lives in an illusion; her deluded past world. * Parallel scenes - Some scenes in the play appear in couplets. This is where the characters and setting are the same, but the contents may differ.

  2. Discuss the view that A Streetcar Named Desire is a play concerned with the ...

    If we take a look at Stanley, he is loud mouthed, opinionated, sexist, aggressive and animalistic- all overriding characteristics of Stanly Kowalski the man who in no small part is responsible for the dramatic collapse of Blanche. On first impression there is very little reason for the audience to feel

  1. A Steercar Named Desire - Blanche's Psychological Breakdown.

    Blanche left her home to join her sister, because her life was a miserable wreck in her former place of residence. She admits, at one point in the story, that "after the death of Allan (her husband) intimacies with strangers was all I seemed able to fill my empty heart with" (Williams, 178).

  2. The themes of death and desire are central in the play A Streetcar Named ...

    not be fitted into a coffin, but had to be 'burned like rubbish'.(Scene 1)" 6.The fact that Blanche blames the loss of the plantation on deaths such as these three, shows her inability to realise that it was really the "unreined desire" of her predecessors that caused the loss of the family home.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work