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How is Blanche Dubois rendered a sympathetic character? 'A Streetcar named Desire'

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Introduction

How is Blanche Dubois rendered a sympathetic character? The three-act play 'A Streetcar named Desire' develops character and theme. The social and historical content reveal the character symbolically along with the narrative technique and idiolect. The text is written more like a novel then a drama, and has to be read to be fully appreciated. Blanches fear of light is put to use both literally and figuratively emphasising her need to escape reality. Her introduction describes her as a moth. The comparison of Blanche to this creature creates the idea of Blanche bringing about self-destruction, like the moth that is attracted to the light that destroys it. The light is a source of realism, a quality Blanche rejects for her fantasy world. "I wont be looked at in this merciless glare!" Blanche prefers things to be kept in the dark, where they can be kept secret to make life bearable. Blanche tries to escape her past as she does reality, but the unjust society and her own guilt prevent this and trap her in the past, replaying over and over in her mind. ...read more.

Middle

This creates a strong conflict between romanticism and rationalism. Blanche is a romantic and leads a contrasting lifestyle to that of Stanley and Stella. Stanley tolerates nothing but the unblemished truth and through his crude and vulgar attitude causes mental and moral disintegration. "I don't want realism, I want magic." Blanche refers to Darwin's theory of evolution to explain Stanley's motives. Stanley views women in a limited capacity and is only content when he has his basic needs fulfilled. Blanche suggests evolution is taking place due to culture, and that only 'the fittest will survive.' It is the light of civilisation vs. the darkness of the ages. Blanche is explicitly related to the Virgin Mary. "The blue of the robe in the old Madonna pictures." Symbolism has been implicit throughout the play, yet here Williams makes it explicit, marking his point significantly. The Virgin Mary was looked down on for having a child before marriage, as Blanche is looked down on because of her nymphomania, and Allan killed due to his homosexuality - despite all three being innocent. ...read more.

Conclusion

Blanche undergoes and element of transformation, as If she were becoming an iconic sculpture. "Following the sculptural lines of her body." This representation of Blanche being reduced to a mere statue of her former self makes her a work of art. Blanche is finally disappearing completely from reality in herself. This shows her romanticism. Blanche Dubois is classed as mental because her actions differ to the social expectations. Her promiscuity is socially frowned upon as well as her relationship to a homosexual. Blanche has been scarred by the emotional events in her life that she is unstable and dead on the inside, but yet not insane. Society has put her in an asylum because it is unjust. "There wasn't no other place for her to go." The fight between Stanley and Blanche is over before it even began. Blanche could never prevail over society and its views. Tennessee Williams was driven by moral vision and proves that old civilities are in decline. Stanley's animalism is the future. Humanism is beaten down by sexual desire, the origin of all men. Vikky Summerhill. English Literature Block C. ...read more.

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