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

How important are illusion and fantasy as themes in "A Streetcar Named Desire."

Extracts from this document...


* How important are illusion and fantasy as themes in "A Streetcar Named Desire." From her entrance onwards Blanche represents fantasy. She enters Elysian Fields "dressed in a white suit with a fluffy bodice" and "incongruous" to the New Orleans setting which depicts reality. To the onlookers, Blanche would appear as a Hollywood glamour icon, representing fantasy and fairytale. As her dress creates a sense of purity and virginity, so does her name, meaning "white woods". The colour white suggests complete innocence but we later learn Blanche totally opposes the ideals of purity and virginity. Williams hints at this fa�ade in the introduction of Blanche: - "There is something about her uncertain manner...that suggests a moth." Throughout the play Blanche tries to maintain this pure, innocent illusion of herself. One way she does this is by trying to hide her age. She tells Mitch Stella is "somewhat older" than her. In order to prevent Mitch from finding out the truth about her age she hides in the dark "avoiding bright light" at all costs. ...read more.


Stella is not. She blocks out things she doesn't want to hear: - "I don't want to hear anymore!" So, although she is not creating fantasies, she is hiding from the truth, which in itself creates an illusion of things. She does this for an easier life. She chooses not to believe Blanche's story of the rape, as she believes "life has got to go on" and that she should do everything in her paper to carry this through. Thereafter this statement, Stella's relationship with Stanley is built on lies. Williams has structured the play so that it starts and ends on the Kowolaski's doorstep. The closing and ending scenes are directed so that their relationship looks ideal. However, underneath this illusion, the audience is aware of the hypocrisy of Stanley comforting Stella as the curtain falls. Blanche in fact has reasons for her fantasies. They are an escape from her loneliness. They are far better than facing reality. She does not care that her lies will be found out and gets entertainment from making and masking them. ...read more.


Since the fall of her family she has had to associate with 'New America' and the working classes. This is another prominent theme in the play, New America versus Old America. Blanche refuses to admit her association with the latter therefore creates a world in her mind where the former still exists. This contrast is most notably portrayed by Blanche and Stanley. Stanley represents a down to earth American man who refuses to play up to Blanche's fantasies: - "Now - let's cut the re-bop!" The rape scene, which provides the climax of the play, displays the final conflict between Blanche and Stanley, old versus new, and reality versus fantasy. Blanche wears a "rhinestone tiara" represents a queen. This opposes the way Blanche has really been treated. After the death of her husband and family, Blanche was lonely and vulnerable. This lead to people exploiting her. Blanche hates "deliberate cruelty" therefore uses illusion and fantasy to mask her sorrow. In scene ten, Stanley cruelly exploits Blanche, which eventually leads to her destruction. So, in "A Streetcar Named Desire" there are a number of themes such as death and desire, madness and old versus new America, illusion and fantasy are prominent in all of these. ...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. Discuss the theme of illusion and reality in A Streetcar Named Desire.

    confuses her admittance to a hospital with a trip to the Caribbean with Shep Huntleigh. Even though she realises that the doctor is "not the gentleman [she] was expecting", Blanche goes with him anyway because she cannot cope with the physical reality that was imposed on her by Staley when

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

    illusions need to be created to survive. Throughout the play, light is used as a symbol of the truth, so Blanche uses a paper lantern to hide from the light and from the truth - " Turn that over-light off!

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

    free country, and get rid of the thought that nothing was wrong, and to put across the corruption that is the American Dream. > Plot Overview of SND: * In the first scene, Blanche DuBois arrives at Elysian Fields number 632: the home of her sister Stella, and brother in law Mr Stanley Kowalski.

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

    When she was young she lived an eloquent life in a mansion, but she eventually lost it due to unpaid bills. She tells everyone this part of her history but neglects to tell them what she had done during the interim period, before she came to Elysian Fields.

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

    Here Blanche speaks in a seductive tone. The only relation Blanche has with men is flirting-old world. * Stanley to this replies; 'Go right ahead , Blanche.' Here we see Stanley assert his power for he stays in this territory. * Blanche is bringing her past into present and it will destroy her future.

  2. What part does fantasy play in the lives of the characters in A Streetcar ...

    Immediately Williams alerts us to Blanche's incongruity to her setting by dressing her in a "white suit with a fluffy bodice, necklace and earrings of pearl, white gloves and hat". With her delicate, moth like appearance and classy and civilized nature she is contrasted to the primary, bold colors of Stanley "the gaudy seed bearer" and his primitive ways.

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