Blanche Monologue Analysis

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How does Tennessee Williams encourage the audience to sympathise with Blanche through the use of symbolism?

Symbolism is the manipulation of symbols to imply certain ideas and qualities by providing them with symbolic meanings that are different from their literal sense. Throughout the play, Tennessee Williams makes plentiful use of symbolism to portray the character of Blanche DuBois as it plays a significant role in understanding how her character works. Through the symbols used, the reader is encouraged to sympathise with Blanche as the plot untwines.

Tennessee Williams uses the colour white as a symbol to encourage the audience to sympathise with Blanche. The name Blanche DuBois literally translates to “white woods” ; however, the
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The lyrics of the song ‘Paper Moon’ actually describe the way love can turn the world into fantasy; if both Mitch and her decided to believe in the illusion. The lyrics reflect Blanche’s perception of life where fantasy is used to mask reality. The “paper” and “cardboard” connote degradability that everything will come to an end, just as Blanche is experiencing. However, Blanche does not want to, she wants to have relationship with Mitch, which is why she creates a Fantasy world; which can be seen implied by the lyrics “make-believe” and “phony” . The “Barnum and Bailey world” is a metaphor. The Barnum and Bailey is a show, an act, a circus, to deceive the eyes of others, which are the same goals as Blanche’s. The effect of a fantasy world and the metaphor of a circus create a particular child-like and innocent tone as Blanche subsequently reflects the mind-set of a child: believing everything one is told and to act with minimum morals – in her case degrading herself, juxtaposing Blanche’s character as she is lost between worlds. This encourages the audience gives her sympathy, indicating to the audience that Blanche is insecure and mislaid, caught up in the world of acting, she can differentiate it to
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