Hidden Truths In Tennessee Williams, It's Only A Paper Moon

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Music plays a huge role in the plot and character developments throughout A Streetcar Named Desire by revealing hidden truths about the characters. The inclusion of the musical composition “It’s Only A Paper Moon” leads to deeper discoveries: the exposures of Blanche and Stanley’s true identities. By contrasting It’s Only A Paper Moon with Stanley’s aggressive dialogue during scene seven, Tennessee Williams forces viewers to side with Blanche and her internal belief that in order to live a life where you are truly happy, it is necessary to forsake some truths and start anew. Williams ' choice of having Stanley brutally unveil Blanche’s secrets “contrapuntally” with Blanche singing a sweet tune in the tub serves to expose Blanche and Stanley’s…show more content…
When Blanche first began singing, she started with the first verse of the ballad: “Say, it’s only a paper moon, Sailing over a cardboard sea -- But it wouldn’t be make-believe If you believed in me!” (120). The lyrics to the song directly reflect Blanche’s view on her life and how she chose to live it. The paper moon and cardboard sea represent the new life Blanche had imagined for herself; a life where she was happy and her past didn’t follow her. Blanche truly believes that her false reality “wouldn’t be make believe” if people just believed in her and not the stories told about her. Blanche feels that if people had faith in her and her story that she chose to tell, she could peacefully live among the cruelness of the world. Blanche also sang a line from the song that stated, “It’s a Barnum and Bailey world, Just as phony as it can be -- But it wouldn’t be make believe if you believed in me!” (120). Here, Blanche is alluding to the circus-like function of the world and commenting on how, like a circus, nothing is as true as it seems. Blanche’s constant repetition of “it wouldn’t be make believe if you believed in me” serves to reaffirm her claim that her fantastical reality would be fairly close to actual reality if only she had the support and acceptance of those around her.…show more content…
Throughout the scene, extending through the book, Stanley’s goal never wavered: he wanted to prove that Blanche was untrustworthy and did not have the power over him as she did over other people. Although Blanche was unsuccessful with pulling the wool over the eyes of Stanley, that was never her goal. All Blanched wanted was a chance to start a new chapter in her life without having to reference back to previous ones. This desire for a clean slate in order to live a sugar-coated lifestyle where she is utterly happy has the potential to be very powerful for many readers and viewers. Since Blanche had pure intentions, you could never fully hate her or condemn her for her actions as you could Stanley. Williams’ elaborate character development within the scene thus causes the viewers to side with Blanche because, in the end, she was only trying to hold on to her paper
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