A Streetcar Named Desire By Tennessee Williams Essay

A Streetcar Named Desire By Tennessee Williams Essay

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Blanche Dubois, a refined and delicate woman plagued by bad nerves, makes her first appearance in scene one of A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams. She unexpectedly arrives in New Orleans to visit her sister Stella Kowalski who ran away after their father’s death. Upon their reunion, Blanche is sharp-tongued and quick to state her shock over the unsavory status of the apartment in comparison to the luxurious plantation where the two sisters were raised. Though dissatisfied by the living conditions, Blanche quickly explains that she had been given leave of absence from her teaching position due to bad nerves and could not stand being left alone—her excuse to invite herself to stay with Stella for an undetermined period of time. It is then that Blanche reveals the loss of their ancestral home, Belle Reve, due to a foreclosure following the deaths of their remaining relatives. While at first Blanche appears a bit of an elitist snob—having no money or prospects, she runs to Stella just to be snotty about the ‘sub-par’ living conditions—the mention of their childhood home causes her tone to shift. She feels as if Stella is attacking her. Accusing her for the loss of their home. In rebuttal, Blanche lashes out, each word laced with anger and blame towards Stella who left, leaving the all the burdens upon Blanche’s shoulders.
I, I, I took the blows in my face and my body! All of those deaths! The long parade to the graveyard! Father, mother! Margaret, that dreadful way! So big with it, it couldn’t be put in a coffin! But had to be burned like rubbish! You just came home in time for the funerals, Stella. And funerals are pretty compared to deaths. Funerals are quiet, but deaths–not always. Sometimes their breathing is hoarse, ...


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...h herself from the gruesome events of the past—a pattern continuously repeated through the use of short, direct sentences. It is her attempt to evade those haunting memories. In doing so, she ‘glosses over’ the more unpleasant details to provide a story of what ought to be the truth rather than what is. This mentality forms the basis of her nature. Much like her refusal to accept the horrible events in her life, she refuses to see herself as she is and instead tries to create an illusion of what she thinks she should be. Along with her made up fantasies, Blanche admits to being mentally and emotionally damaged. This mental instability manifests itself in different forms, one of them being Blanche’s uncontrollable nerves. These two distinctive characteristics are the driving force of the play which chronicles the impending collapse of Blanche’s self-image and sanity.

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