A Streetcar Named Desire

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A Streetcar Named Desire Critical Essay ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ written by Tennessee Williams is a play which the dramatist explores the conflict between reality and illusion. Blanche DuBois, a character who represents illusion and fantasy, goes to stay with her sister, Stella, and her husband Stanley, who represents brutal reality. From the start, Williams portrays the conflict between Blanche and Stanley and uses various techniques, such as costume, characterisation and symbolism, to convey their ongoing battle. Blanch lies as her desire to be loved and protected from her traumatic past is overpowering, and, in the end, she is defeated by the harsh reality that is Stanley. This resolution is satisfying as it shows that desire is destructive, and that merciless reality wins over illusion every time. From the very first scene, Williams depicts the differences between Blanche and Stanley through costume. When Blanche first turns up at Elysian Fields, we are told straight away that “her appearance is incongruous to this setting”. With the impression that she is upper class, she is described as wearing “a white suit with a fluffy bodice, necklace and earrings of pearl, white gloves and hat” The colour white suggests purity and innocence – this is what Blanche desires to be. It can also be seen as ghostly, or angelic, suggesting fantasy. She is described as moth-like, which portrays not only her clothing or tentative expression, but also suggests that she is delicate and fragile, and cannot survive if she is exposed to the light, or in this case, the truth. This tells us that she has an evasive and ‘fluttery’ personality that always changes direction like a moth in flight. In contrast to this, the first time the reader is introduced to Stanley, he is “roughly dressed in blue denim work clothes”. The manly denim work clothes suggest that Stanley is of working
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