In Tennessee Williams’ play, A Streetcar Named Desire, Blanche Dubois symbolizes the failure of the grandiose American Dream.
The “American Dream” idea, born from war and depression, was the opening window to hope for Americans. This new beginning inspired change in people, and in some, inspired greed. The overconfidence and blind optimism grew in many, often in people who had already come from a place of privilege and wealth—people who expected their dreams to appear in front of them with little effort on their behalf. Williams believed these behaviors and values were destined for failure, and he successfully portrayed said beliefs through Blanche. Blanche represents the unravelling of the dream because despite her strong desire and determination, her unrealistic expectations and delusions caused her to spiral downwards into a pit of despair.
Before learning much about her, Blanche is painted as the villain rather early on into the play. Williams establishes Blanche’s character in the play right off the bat, with early scenes displaying Blanche’s pretentious distaste for her younger sister’s simple and modest lifestyle. She displays this distaste whilst attempting to uphold a false charming and pleasant demeanor, mincing her words and spiteful criticisms in a way that gives off the impression of being condescending and disingenuous. This...
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...e’s delusion in that Stella’s naivety is born from a place of purity and goodwill whereas Blanche’s delusion aids in her deceitfulness and trickery. In the end, stability triumphs over delusion, with Stella telling the audience that “I couldn’t believe her story and go on living with Stanley”.
Tennessee Williams’ uses Stella as a medium to share his message that perseverance and modesty are the main driving forces behind the achievability of your American dream. By comparing these two strong characters, Williams’ makes the audience question their own dreams and their achievability.
The basic element of the American Dream is the freedom of the possibility to obtain whatever you dream of. Through his play, A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams strongly demonstrated his belief that to achieve these dreams you must work hard and remain modest and consistent.
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