An Analysis Of Tennessee Williams A Streetcar Named Desire

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In Tennessee Williams’s play A Streetcar Named Desire, Blanche Dubois measures her family’s successes and failures against a standard that she believes reflects the social values of the Old South as practiced at Belle Reve, her lost plantation. She uses her reminiscences and behaviors to construct herself -- to other characters and to the audience -- as a Southern Belle: a representative of a group of highborn women from the antebellum South. As the play unfolds, however, it becomes clear not only that Blanche cannot live up to the Southern Belles code, but also that her ideas of the Old South are as illusory as the other self-deceptions to which she is subject. Confronted by the harsh reality of post-war America, Blanche finds comfort in escapism, traditionalism and illusions represented by the facades behind which she hides her true self. An aging Southern belle, Blanche Dubois rejects the truth that the reality presents to her, protecting herself with illusions and deceptive characterizations. In the opening scene, Blanche’s white, symbolically pristine attire and decorative accessories seem “incongruous to the setting”. Williams compares her appearance and her “uncertain manner” to a moth. Throughout the play, Blanche clings to her silk dresses, satin bathrobes and rhinestone jewelry which create a clear contrast between her high status and the working class of New Orleans. By immersing herself in the richness of those materialistic objects, Blanche slips into a reverie
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