A Streetcar named Desire - We can evade reality but we cannot avoid the consequences of doing so. Discuss

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Sally Chieu

“We can evade reality but we cannot avoid the consequences of doing so”

Reality is a double-edged sword – we can evade it and face the consequences of doing so, or, we can face it and suffer the consequences of doing so. All too often, reality can be overwhelmingly negative, and with no other means of escape other than to deny the truth of their situation, a person will evade their reality.

Death, loss, aging and a past that is best forgotten can often lead a person to falsify their reality. This notion is exemplified in Tennessee Williams' play A Streetcar Named Desire through protagonist Blanche Dubois who, through suffering through the death of her husband and most of her family, lost her cherished childhood home, it ‘on-the-shelf’ and trying to escape a promiscuous past has no option but to escape her reality and present a faux reality to those around her. The unreality of presented by Blanche is one in which she is dainty, pure, beautiful and desirable, a ‘reality’ she aims to perpetuate by hiding from harsh light and omitting details of her history with men to help her create the ‘magic’ of her reality. While Blanche explicitly states; “I don’t want realism,” through Stanley, Tennessee William’s puts forth the idea to his audience that reality is inescapable, and that the consequences for escaping reality are dire, harsh and cruelly judged by society. Blanche, who escapes her objectively reality is raped and suffers a severe mental collapse, being reduced to talking to imaginary onlookers and admirers, whereas Stanley, a blunt realist suffers no consequences, even getting his desire to be rid of Stella’s sister. By not trying to cope and resolve the difficulties and hardships in a reality, the problems are able to fester and grow, and are exacerbated to far greater, and even epic proportions.

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During the People’s Republic of China’s ‘Great Leap Forward’ reality became ignored by the people of China and the willing ignorance of Chinese leaders led to millions of deaths. During the Great Leap, grain production figures were falsified and inflated to ridiculous extents (a harvest of 200 million tonnes was reported to be 450 million!) and those sceptical of the figures were shouted down by Maoist idealists unwilling to acknowledge the reality of China’s situation. Jung Chang – a Chinese historian, remarked “It was a time when telling fantasies to oneself ... and believing them was practised to an ...

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