Sakura Kato English 10 C Date: 1/ 2/ 2013 A Streetcar Named Desire Motif: Light Through the use of a light motif, Williams demonstrates how Blanche’s aversion to light conveys the theme of illusion and reality. Light is a symbol of reality and as Blanche runs away from it, she stays in the darkness to hide not only her true self and but from reality. Blanche describes her first love as “a blinding light on something that had always been half in shadow” [pg. 114] and therefore, light is used to represent love, but her first husband’s suicide, has erased love and light from her life. So metaphorically, she is hiding from reality but on a physical level, Blanche avoids light to prevent others from seeing the reality of her beauty that is now being “put out” like light.
She later backs this portrayal up by hysterically saying, “And turn that over-light off! Turn that off! I won’t be looked at in that merciless glare!” The character of Blanche is being represented as something so delicate she cannot be seen in a bright light, lest she fall apart. In this way Williams is very cleverly and very effectively outlining Blanche’s fragile character and insecurities, she is being shown as unstable and very prone to falling apart completely, and indeed potentially being easily damaged, just as a moth can be injured beyond recovery if their frail wings are touched. On top of this, the fact the character is named Blanche has relevance too.
Williams’ play is an example of a modern tragedy and Blanche is a complex tragic hero, as she is embodying both the traditional aspects of a tragic hero, but also introducing the new ideologies simultaneously. Williams introduces glimpses of an Aristotelian tragic hero in Blanche’s entrance. Blanche initially appears to fulfil the criteria of nobility; her arrival in the shabby and deprived setting of New Orleans coupled with her reaction of surprise and disbelief, ‘this- can this- be her home?’ clearly highlights her incompatibility to the surroundings immediately. Williams includes stage directions that allow the reader to build up a strong idea of Blanche’s appearance: ‘Her appearance is incongruous to this setting,’ and her distinct mannerisms. She seems to be superior compared to her surroundings, virginal and demure due to her ‘Southern belle’ upbringing and these traits are obvious in her choice of attire: ‘She is daintily dressed in a white suit with a fluffy bodice, necklace and ear-rings of pearl, white gloves and hat...’ These are expensive garments that denote grandeur and wealth and ultimately purity.
Terron Graham Jimmy Cao A Streetcar Named Desire Group Test 1. Blanche’s character is built upon deception and illusion. Following her husband’s death, she plunges into a lifestyle built on validating herself through promiscuity, and proving to herself that she is still as attractive as she once was. The conflict, though, is that, as with all things, she is growing older, and she cannot stop. Thus, she beguiles others in order to cope with the passing of time, and to protect from the truth of reality.
The theme of death is often depicted indirectly throughout the play by means of various images. Blanche is afraid of dying and this is deducible by her constant anxiety about the way she looks or what she will wear, her hiding her real age and her aversion for bright light. Her attempts to assert her sexuality by seducing younger men also reveals her fear of growing old and losing her former beauty. She is convinced that her happiness depends on others, that she will only be happy if she is with a man, so she needs to use her good looks to find a husband. She believes that her beauty is her strongest asset and now that she is getting older, she dreads the possibility of being alone.
A Streetcar Named Desire Blanche DuBois is a very diverse character in the play A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams. She is a tragic and dynamic character throughout the play. Blanche does not know exactly how to handle losing everything she has lost and seems to be confused about life in general now. The way she lives after arriving at Stanley and Stella’s seems like she has turned away from reality and lives in her own fantasy world, or a world where she lives by how things should be instead of how things truly are. In A Streetcar Named Desire, Blanche DuBois, feels she is better than others, constantly changes, and often escapes from reality.
It makes you ponder ‘does humanity actually realize how precious freedom is?’ Her impressive use of metaphors and words that parallel her themes, people, imagery, paradoxes and rhythm scheme, emotionally impacts the reader and represents the progressing anger and injustice along with the lonely conscious slavery caused in her people’s lives. Invoked thoughts of imprisonment strongly come across with the spirit of the unbounded bird with her subtle imagery. “Leaps on the back of the wind” and “dips his wings in the orange sun rays” emulate the concept of being alive and free. But the “reality” is soon broken in the next stanza which breaks down what was initially established. The stanza expresses the feeling of fear and terror with quotes such as “narrow bars”, “bars of rage” and “wings are clipped”.
The first time we meet Daisy she is dressed in white which is ironic because Daisy is far from “pure”. The fact that Daisy is putting on a fake persona makes the reader wonder if she really is as naive as she acts. White in the novel also symbolises materialistic insubstantial love, this is shown when Daisy chooses her marriage partner based on $350,000 string of white pearls, and this suggests that Daisy is extremely materialistic because she “chose” Tom purely because he bought her an expensive gift. Fitzgerald also uses pastel colours, “coral...and lavender and faint orange, with monograms of Indian blue”. Pastels connotes a fairytale, ephemeral quality, this represents the unreality of the Buchanans’ lifestyle and what they have, relationship wise won’t last for a long time and will eventually wither away.
Blanche continues to work herself up by further explaining the story about Shep Huntleigh. She tells Stanley even though she is poor that she is rich in her spirit and has a beautiful mind. Blanche says that she has been foolish lavishing what she has to offer on those that do not deserve it. She then moves on to Mitch and tells Stanley how he came to her with a box of roses to ask forgiveness. She told Stanley how she cannot forgive deliberate cruelty and how her and Mitch are very different people with different attitudes and backgrounds.
From the beginning of the play, there is a building of tension amplified by the use of stage direction and music. This continues throughout and culminates in the final scene when the audience feels the sense of loss experienced by all the characters and empathises with Blanche's plight. The first thing one notices when reading Scene 11 is Williams' use of descriptive and metaphorical language to underline the tension between the protagonists, Stanley and Blanche. The description of Blanche's "tragic radiance in her red satin robe" alludes to her loss of innocence at Stanley's hands in Scene 10. In the 1940’s it would have been totally unacceptable to describe rape explicitly.