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

Escapism in A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Escapism Escapism is an inclination to retreat from unpleasant realities through diversion or fantasy. There are various occasions throughout A Streetcar Named Desire in which Tennessee Williams carefully highlights some of the characters tendencies to draw upon certain forms of escapism when they feel it necessary. Drinking The use of alcohol as means of escapism is undoubtedly one of the most prominent motifs accentuated by Blanche. This is made evident by Williams from the onset of scene one through the stage directions: "Suddenly she notices something in a half opened closet. She springs up and crosses to it, and removes a whiskey bottle. She pours a half tumbler of whiskey and tosses it down." [page 6] This sudden desire to consume alcohol follows Eunice's questions concerning Belle Reve, an issue Blanche by all means would rather avoid. Unable to cope with the loss of the plantation and indeed the loss of life as she knows it, she turns to drink in an attempt to escape the reality of the situation. Following this, Blanche and Stella are finally reunited, however this surprise reunion will not come without question and Blanche knows this. ...read more.

Middle

"Blanche staggers back from the window and falls to her knees." In one swift scene, Blanche has now lost her hope of regaining a stable future. In the stage directions in scene ten Tennessee Williams describes how "a few hours later that night. Blanche has been drinking fairly steadily since Mitch left." Blanche resorts to becoming intoxicated as she can find no other way to deal with the harsh reality that presents itself to her. Her hopes to marry Mitch are completely shattered and thus so is the dream. Although it is mainly Blanche who uses alcohol as a form of escapism, it can be argued that Stanley and the men also use it for the same means. For example, at the poker game in scene three the men enjoy a few shots of whiskey. Considering Mitch's relationship with his sick mother, it is understandable that he wants to escape from his responsibilities and for once, play a game. Stanley on the other hand becomes quite inebriated, perhaps trying to get away from worries about the intrusion of Blanche on his territory, and to escape further into the game. Sexual Promiscuity Williams also highlights the tendency of Blanche to use sexual relationships to flee into a world of fantasy. ...read more.

Conclusion

Mitch points out Blanche's avoidance of light in Scene Nine, when he confronts her with the stories Stanley has told him of her past. Mitch then forces Blanche to stand under the direct light. When he tells her that he doesn't mind her age, just her deceitfulness, Blanche responds by saying that she doesn't mean any harm. She believes that magic, rather than reality, represents life as it ought to be. Blanche's inability to tolerate light means that her grasp on reality is also nearing its end. In Scene Six, Blanche tells Mitch that being in love with her husband, Allan Grey, was like having the world revealed in bright, vivid light. Since Allan's suicide, Blanche says, the bright light has been missing. Through all of Blanche's inconsequential sexual affairs with other men, she has experienced only dim light. Bright light, therefore, represents Blanche's youthful sexual innocence, while poor light represents her sexual maturity and disillusionment. Phone Calls Lack of escapism When examining this topic, one also has to think of the lack of escapism that Blanche so desperately seeks. This insufficiency of escapism can be seen due to the confining Kowalski apartment in which she stays in. The claustrophobic flat and the hectic incidents that occur within these walls leave little room for a way out. ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Compare and contrast Williams treatment of the concept of mental instability in A Streetcar ...

    4 star(s)

    She "cries out as if the lantern was herself" when Stanley rips off the paper lantern that she uses to dim the harsh lights and, in turn, reality. Although in Glass Menagerie there is a similar moment when "Laura cries out as if wounded" when the glass menagerie she relates

  2. Marked by a teacher

    How does Williams present the character of Blanche in scenes 1-3 of A Streetcar ...

    4 star(s)

    Stanley 'pulls open the wardrobe trunk standing in the middle of the room' that contains Blanche's possessions: 'What is these here? Fox-pieces! ...Where are your white fox-pieces...And what have we here? The treasure chest of a pirate! ...Where are your pearls and gold bracelets?

  1. Marked by a teacher

    In What ways is Sexuality portrayed as central to the conflicts of the individual-v-society ...

    3 star(s)

    Harding's denial of his sexual preferences reflects the indoctrination described extensively in Cuckoo's Nest "there ain't no point bucking the system" caused by society's control. "Society decides who's sane and who isn't so you got to measure up" making Harding believe he is ill "Boxed out of his mind"7, when he is just 'unconventional' in society's view.

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

    She was haunted by her inability to help or understand her young, troubled husband and that she has tortured herself for it ever since. Her drive to lose herself in the "kindness of strangers" might also be understood from this period in that her sense of confidence in her own

  1. Blanche and Mitch's relationship in "A Streetcar Named Desire" by Tennessee Williams.

    However, the limitations in his personality become more apparent as the play progresses. There is a big difference their education and nature. Mitch is honest, stable and loyal but Blanche is exactly the opposite. She prefers to tell what ought to be the truth, instead of what the truth is, and she has a nervous disposition because of her past.

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

    Blanche is still in her little fantasy world, singing, seemingly without a care in the world, completely oblivious to Stanley who is divulging the harsh reality of her past which deflates the innocent white persona she has created for herself.

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

    So much so, that he chooses a physical place not only for his ability to identify with its features, so as to make his work as effective as possible, but also because it has its own language, and specific history.

  2. Tennessee Williams once said that Streetcar was ‘a plea for the understanding of delicate ...

    In scene nine another of Blanches weaknesses is revealed when she tells Mitch that she needs men, to make her feel secure. She explains that after her young husband, Allan Grey, had died, she needed the protection of men to such an extent that she flaunted herself to strangers at hotels.

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