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Fantasy vs. Reality (A Streetcar Named Desire)

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Samantha Moliis

on 4 January 2013

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Transcript of Fantasy vs. Reality (A Streetcar Named Desire)

vs. Tennessee Williams’ classic play A Streetcar Named Desire expresses Blanche DuBois’ dilemma of trying to live a fanciful life in the real world by contrasting her character with Stanley Kowalski and other elements of the real world, demonstrating that fantasy and reality can never peacefully coexist.

Stanley’s ever-flowing harsh language towards Blanche that his character is the more grounded, realistic individual by detailing his destruction of Blanche’s fantasy world with each rude remark. Earlier in the piece, Stanley’s remarks were more skeptical than offensive as he questioned her mysterious background, such as an accusation made when rooting through Blanche’s trunk, “. . .Here’s our plantation, or what was left of it, here!” but as the plot moved forward and he gathered more information, his claims became more and more incriminating due to his factual supporting evidence, even driving him far enough to call his sister-in-law’s story “[not] a goddam thing but imagination” to her stunned face. His intense fact-checking with the supply-man in Laurel feeds the fire between the two dominant personalities, giving Stanley the edge of the truth and also establishing his position as the realistic one. Blanche’s fantasy world, concocted in her own half-insane ramblings and misinterpreted past, is brought down by his ruthless jabs, leading to her own insanity and to the fall of fantasy in this episode of the ongoing battle between fantasy and reality. She once was perceived as innocent, by her own sister, who defended Blanche until her sister’s claims went against that of her own husband, and by her only chance at entering the real world again, Mitch; but it faded as did her youth when reality hit it in the form of Mr. Kowalski.

In direct contrast with Stanley’s blatant logical approach, Blanche’s fanciful view of the world around her ends up being her downfall, slipping further into it as insanity brings her down, and in Williams’ point of view, defining the world the characters live in as the “real world” rather than Blanche’s world. She even declares at one point, to Mitch, “I don’t want realism—I want magic!” This statement implies that she was nearly insane to begin with, refusing to live in the world as it is, even her own little world that she has manipulated beyond belief with lies and deceit. Blanche continues on after that statement by attempting to qualify her own beliefs with “I don’t tell truth, I tell what ought to be truth. And if that is sinful, then let me be damned for it!” Though her views are justified in her own mind, they are misguided in any world that isn’t the one Blanche has created in her mind.

Insisting on only the best, such as “twenty-five dollar an ounce” perfume, and living in the past, ruminating on her lost love, Blanche sets herself up for failure by preferring to stay in her own fantasy world, which Stanley tries as hard as he can to break down. Her fantastic lying cannot compete with Stanley’s methodical fact-checking, and brutal as reality may be, the real world will always beat out any fantasy. Blanche desires magic Stanley just wants the truth Though his character is rather brutal, such is reality, and Stanley is established as the "right one" between the two. Blanche remembers what made her retreat back into her own world... ...and is later pulled out of her world back into reality in the form of an insane asylum. Essay

Poem fantastic world
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