Essay about The Madness of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire

Essay about The Madness of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire

Length: 1929 words (5.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Tennessee Williams wrote about Blanche DuBois: 'She was a demonic character; the
size of her feelings was too great for her to contain without the
escape of madness.'

Williams uses Blanche DuBois as a vehicle to explore several themes
that interested him, one of these being madness. His own sister, Rose,
was lobotomised in his absence and later institutionalised leading
many critics to believe that the character of Blanche may have arisen
from events in his own life. Blanche's tragic past involving both the
death of her "young" husband and her consequent promiscuity with
"young men" created an overwhelming amount of emotion for Blanche,
which, as Williams suggests, "was too great for her to contain". As to
whether her escape was "madness" can be debatable - although Blanche
is clearly unstable at many points, some believe that Blanche is not
actually insane, suggested by Stella's comment in Scene 11 - "I
couldn't believe her story and go on living with Stanley."

From her first appearance on stage, Blanche is presented as being
"incongruous" to New Orleans and to her surroundings and Williams
immediately distinguishes her from the rest of the characters in the
play by her immaculate white clothing, echoing the meaning of her
name, and later with symbolic associations such as her ritual bathing
and the music of the polka. From the very opening scene, something
else which is characteristic to Blanche is her lies and half-truths.
Her solitary behaviour in the opening scene is quite disturbing,
especially after drinking some of Stanley's liquor she "washes out the
tumbler at the sink" - it immediately prompts that question of what
she is hiding. Already, she is not appearing too stable and as we
later lear...

... middle of paper ... some extent, I believe,
with Stella. Although Stella decides to believe that Stanley is
telling the truth and that Blanche is in actual fact "insane" is
Stella's own way of avoiding the actual truth of the events of scene
10. This is also a form of escapism which suggests that ultimately,
Stella will follow the same tragic past as that of her sister's; into
mental 'death' following a newfound will to believe in lies. Williams
uses Blanche to convey his themes as well as unleashing a certain
amount of sexual frustration he was feeling. In the end, despite
whether Blanche is really "mad" or not is still debatable but I don't
believe she is; after all, it was quite clear from the end of scene 3
that her sexual "desire" for Stanley overrode her affection for her
sister. It is then no wonder that Blanche has "always depended on the
kindness of strangers."

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Dark Side of A Streetcar Named Desire Essay

-         In A Streetcar Named Desire, written by Tennessee Williams, the characters presented represent Williams' own view of society.  In Streetcar, Williams has created a medium to observe and reflect upon the darkest aspects of society and the result of these societal downfalls. Williams has portrayed numerous societal downfalls, such as the idea that he (or she) who tries to hide his true self and lie to the world ends up, above all, hurting himself. This statement, which lies just below the surface in Streetcar, reflects the difficulties Williams had in finding his own place in life....   [tags: Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire]

Free Essays
388 words (1.1 pages)

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams Essay

- 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....   [tags: A Streetcar Named Desire Essays]

Powerful Essays
947 words (2.7 pages)

Essay on A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams

- Analysis of A Streetcar Named Desire Every person in this world feels the necessity of been loved at least one time in their life. Blanche feels this necessity and she tried to make herself loved but she has failed. Blanche arrives in New Orleans in a streetcar with only one desire; to find someone who would love her. Her sister, Stella, was her only family member left; and Blanche goes to her in order to find a solution for her problems. Blanche lives in a world of illusions that she uses to hide from the real world....   [tags: A Streetcar Named Desire Essays]

Powerful Essays
655 words (1.9 pages)

Essay on A Street Car Named Desire By Tennessee Williams

- A Street Car Named Desire by Tennessee Williams is an iconic playwright throughout American Literature history. The play has many meanings to it, but the one meaning that stood out most and played an affect on the end of the play would be the treatment the two characters gave each other. The two characters are Blanche Dubois and Stanley Kowalski. Stanley’s treatment of Blanche throughout the play leads to her steady decline into madness. Blanche in the play arrives at her sister’s house and her sister introduces her to Stanley....   [tags: Blanche DuBois, Stanley Kowalski, Stella Kowalski]

Powerful Essays
969 words (2.8 pages)

A Postmodern Cultural Perspective in Lolita and A Streetcar Named Desire

- A Postmodern Cultural Perspective in Lolita and A Streetcar Named Desire Postmodernism has emerged as a reaction to modernism thoughts and "well-established modernist systems". (Wikipedia, 2005) Specific to Nabokov's Lolita and Williams' Streetcar Named Desire is the idea that both of the novels are written under the view of postmodernism as a cultural movement and that they are broadly defined as the condition of Western society especially after World War II (period in which the novel were written; 1947 for Streetcar and 1955 for Lolita)....   [tags: Compare Contrast Lolita Streetcar Desire]

Powerful Essays
1252 words (3.6 pages)

The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman And A Streetcar Named Desire

- Madness is used as a theme in literature to explore the depths of the human mind. People experience and react to madness in various ways. In literary works such as The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams madness is characterized by detachment from reality and delusions. The madness that the Narrator and Blanche experience is caused by their attempts to ease their loneliness. In The Yellow Wallpaper the narrator, who is subjected to the rest cure and isolated from the world, immerses herself in the world she creates within the wallpaper to ease her loneliness and in A Streetcar Named Desire Blanche Dubois deludes herself and those ar...   [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper]

Powerful Essays
1283 words (3.7 pages)

Slipping in the Quicksand: Guilt, Psychology, and the Fall of Blanche Dubois

- The Greek tragedian Aeschylus once wrote that “a god implants in mortal guilt whenever he wants utterly to confound a house,” and as the creator of A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams is no exception. The guilt of Blanche DuBois makes the emotional, tragic, and often extreme circumstances of the play possible. Williams creates Blanche’s vulnerabilities, including her dependence on others and her inability to face reality, so that her guilt over Allan’s death becomes the primary cause of her promiscuity, neurasthenic behavior and ultimate downfall....   [tags: Character Analysis ]

Powerful Essays
2071 words (5.9 pages)

Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire Essay

- While watching A Streetcar named Desire, the character of Blanche Dubois at first appeared to be a weak self-absorbed southern woman, when really what started coming from her character was a flawed personality. What is not known is whether this is something that runs in the family, or has only shown itself through Blanche. Since this was during a time when mental illness was not yet studied deeply, the way Blanche is treated while succumbing to her illness and how she was sent off to the mental hospital was rather archaic....   [tags: A Streetcar Named Desire Essays]

Powerful Essays
1001 words (2.9 pages)

Women and Desire: the Unwillingness of Society to Permit Desire in Women

- Fulfillment of desire has always been a popular theme in novels, plays and short stories because it has been undeniable and problematic in women throughout history. Novels such as The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, as well as plays like A Streetcar Named Desire and "Portrait of a Madonna," by Tennessee Williams, often show what society would ensure happened to these women if they were ever to follow through and try to fulfill their desires, be them sexual desires or otherwise. According to this novels and plays, women that strive to fulfill their desires eventually come to a tragic end because the society cannot permit a woman to liberate herself from the stigma of the repressed desire without a...   [tags: Comparative Literature]

Powerful Essays
2502 words (7.1 pages)

Essay on The Charater of Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire

- The Charater of Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire In 'A Streetcar Named Desire' we focus on three main characters. One of these characters is a lady called Blanche. As the play progresses, we gradually get to know more about Blanche and the type of person she really is in contrast to the type of person that she would like everybody else to think she is. Using four main mediums, symbolism and imagery, Blanche's action when by herself, Blanche's past and her dialogue with others such as Mitch, Stanley and the paperboy, we can draw a number of conclusions about Blanche until the end of Scene Five....   [tags: Streetcar Named Desire]

Free Essays
1046 words (3 pages)