Literary Analysis: A Streetcar Named Desire

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In literature, texts often allow the reader to escape from a world of reality. However, as I will explore in this essay, many texts explore actual characters and their conflict with the imagined. It is evident that such themes are strongly present in The Great Gatsby, A Streetcar named Desire, and from selected works of John Keats. One reason why these texts are so effective is due to their cultural and historical context in which they are set. Whether it is Keats’s work in an era of romanticism, or The Great Gatsby set at the height of the Jazz Age and American dream, they share a common theme; ages of high passion, dreams and hopes. And as later on explored, these can be the driving forces to the failure of many. However, there is evidence…show more content…
Blanche Du Bois is the central character in in this Southern Gothic play. She draws attention using her sincere and fragile personality. However, later on in the play this turns out to be an illusionistic image of her own mind. She must live in the world of illusions in order to protect herself against outside threats and against her own fears. Throughout the play Tennessee Williams contrasted Blanche’s delusions with Stanley’s realism. Unfortunately by the end, Stanley and his view of the world is victorious. Blanche hopes to salvage her life in such a world of brutality where the inner anxiety clashes with the outside threats. In order to do this, she uses different coping mechanisms: delusions, alcoholism and illusions. It’s easy to see that Blanche must use such types of mechanism to protect herself from going crazy in the process of changing her environment and living conditions. She must live in a state of imagination in order to keep herself sane. Evidence of this can be seen in scene one. Blanche exclaims how she “was on the verge of--lunacy, almost” [Williams 1951 p21] before meeting Stella. She continues with ‘drinking quickly’ [Williams 1951 p21] her glass of alcohol, which ‘feels so good’ [Williams 1951 p21] for her. This shows that Blanche is clearly lost in her sense of imagination. In order to address this, her only solution is to drown out any worries with alcohol. As Argued by Philip C. Kolin, a professor of English, Blanche indeed strongly possesses such personality. According to Kolin, Blanche is ‘aided by a vivid imagination and a gift for putting into words her colourful and often sordid fancies and facts.’[5] Kolin says Blanche is lost in a world of imagination; a ‘tragedy’ [5] leading to a ‘downward path’ [5]. The characters in A Streetcar Named Desire often have a very erratic and loud personality. This is likely due to Williams and his personal
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