Essay On Blanche In Tennessee Williams A Streetcar Named Desire

1007 Words5 Pages
Blanche’s constant bathing, which is a passive, happy activity like a ‘child frolicking in a tub’, serves as an escape from reality. This childish mannerism displayed by Blanche indicates her innocence, yet the innocence Blanche beholds is not sexual but naïve in the sense that she cannot see the real world for what it is. Her need to act young also displays her paranoia of ageing. At the same time as wanting to gain back youth, she subconsciously tries to clean away her past, like rape victims are known to do. However, this inner calm is only short term, and it is ironic that while she takes her refuge in a bath, Stanley takes the opportunity to maliciously reveal her past to Stella. His and Stella’s argument is interspersed with Blanche’s unselfconscious singing in the bathtub, with the contrast heightening the tension.…show more content…
A Streetcar Named Desire can be seen as a modern tragedy because Blanche, who could be considered protagonist, is working against a tide of unstoppable change. Whereas protagonists in other tragedies work mainly against their own mistakes and flaws, Blanche must also deal with the changing times in America: The industrialization of the South during and after WWI and WWII, the end of the old plantations, immigrants, like the Polish Stanley, moving into the South. In Blanche's mind these indicate the end of simplicity, and she fails to cope with the realities. American literature after WWII often relies on these same themes of change in tragedy. The protagonist not only has no control over their tragic flaw, but also cannot navigate the outside world which once was simple. Rather than being the tragic hero, Blanche has ‘come in search of a hero who can rescue and protect her, only to suffer full-blown mental breakdown at the hands of Stanley Kowalski, one of the great anti-heroes of Western
Open Document