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A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams Essay

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In Tennessee Williams’ play A Streetcar Named Desire, he evaluates Blanche’s struggle to accept reality. Williams brings to the attention of the audience that Blanche has psychological issues; therefore, she cannot decipher between fact and fiction, or is it her choice to deny reality? Blanche DuBois, Williams’ most famous Southern belle finally resolves a lifetime of psychological conflicts (Rusinko 2738). Blanche tries to live a life of both desire and decorum (Riddel 17), thus driving her to insanity. Sigmund Freud would characterize Blanche’s psychological problem as id v. ego and superego (Riddel 17). The id is the primitive and instinctive component of personality. The ego develops in order to mediate between the unrealistic id and the external real world. The superego incorporates the values and morals of society which are learned from one's parents and others (McLeod). Williams psychological approach to his characters is most evident in the character of Blanche DuBois.
Blanche is both a representative and victim of a tradition that taught her attractiveness, virtue, and gentility lead to happiness (Corrigan 56). The time period that Blanche grew up in forced her to think that she was to have a sense of poise and grace. She should never let anyone think that she was anything less than a lady. Blanche represents the Southern traditions; therefore, she was expected to be a woman of eloquence (Bigsby 45). However, once Blanche leaves Belle Reve her image is completely destroyed. Williams portrays Blanche as a Southern woman who cannot find herself or grip reality due to this illusion she has created. Blanche needs reassurance that she is beautiful to due her insecure nature brought on by the passing of her husband. She tries...


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... Alvin B. "Truth and Dramatic Mode in A Streetcar Named Desire." Modern Critical Views Tennessee Williams. By Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1987. 9-11. Print.
McLeod, Saul. "Id Ego and Superego." Simply Psychology. Simply Psychology, 2008. Web. 26 Jan. 2014.
O'Connor, Jacqueline. "Babbling Lunatics: Language and Madness." Bloom's Modern Critical Views: Tennessee Williams. By Harold Bloom. New York: Infobase, 2007. 11-26. Print.
Riddel, Joseph N. "A Streetcar Named Desire-Nietzche Descending." Modern Critical Views Tennessee Williams. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1987. 13-22. Print.
Rusinko, Susan. “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Magill’s Survey of American Literature. Ed. Steven G. Kellman. rev. ed. Vol.6. Pasadena, Ca.: Salem Press, Inc., 2007. 2734-2739. Print.
Williams, Tennessee. A Streetcar Named Desire. New York: New Directions, 1947. Print.



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