A Comparison of the Masks In Cold Blood, Streetcar Named Desire, and Fences

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Peeking Behind the Masks In Cold Blood, Streetcar Named Desire, and Fences In life, we all attempt to project some kind of personality to others. We have a mask we wear in different situations, but when times get tough, we eventually discard our masks and become our true selves. We don't live behind our masks until the tragic end, like the characters of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, and Fences by August Wilson. The three characters, Perry Smith, Blanche DuBois, and Troy Maxson wore masks to their bitter endings, always trying to fool everyone else. When times got tough, they had to face themselves, and they could not stand the sight. The characters of Blanche DuBois (A Streetcar Named Desire by Williams), Troy Maxson (Fences by Wilson) and Perry Smith (In Cold Blood by Capote), all had an image they hoped to project. They wanted everyone else to see them in a certain way. Each character had their own delusions about whom they were and what they wanted to project to others. The three hide behind masks in an attempt to be confident and faultless. For example, in the case of Blanche DuBois we are introduced to a woman who portrays herself as a southern belle, a woman who is supposed to be genteel. It doesn't take long before the audience can recognize DuBois for what she really is. However, she never gives in, or admits to what the audience can see in her. DuBois is drawn to a life of illusion. She tells people she is a schoolteacher on leave, when she has actually lost her job for becoming involved in an affair with a much younger man (Harris 444). Laurie Lanzen Harris states, She presents herself as an innocent, virginal young woman .... ... middle of paper ... ...84. Nance, William L. "The Worlds of Truman Capote." Contemporary Literary Criticism 13 (1970): 137-138. Shafer, Yvonne. "Breaking Barriers: August Wilson," in Staging Difference: Cultural Pluralism in American Theatre and Drama. Contemporary Literary Criticism 118 (1999): 405-406. Shannon, Sandra G. "The Good Christian's Come and Gone: The Shifting Role of Christianity in August Wilson Plays," in MELUS. Contemporary Literary Criticism 118 (1999): 382-384. Vogel, Dan. "The Mask of Oedipus Tyranos," in The Three Masks of American Tragedy. Contemporary Literary Criticism 5 (1976): 504-505. Works Consulted Capote, Truman. In Cold Blood. New York: The New American Library, 1940. Williams, Tennessee. A Streetcar Named Desire. New York: New Directories, 1947. Wilson, August. Fences. New York: Plume, 1985.

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