People often cannot accept the painful truth of reality. These painful experiences leave an individual broken where it alters their views of the real world and create a world of illusion. In Tennessee William’s play, “A Streetcar Named Desire,” Blanche is the main center of attraction. She draws the audience’s attention with her sincere and fragile personality, which later turns out to be an illusory image of her own mind. She lives in a world of illusions in order to protect herself against outside threats and against her own fears. This play, by Tennessee Williams, show how the ugliness of life may cause an individual to live in an alternate reality where he can recreate the world as it should be.
Blanche’s story starts when she comes over to her sister’s place after he loses their beloved property, Belle Reve. There she meets her sister’s husband, Stanley. Blanche has a fragile personality that had gone through many stressful situations in the past. In order for her to cope up with all this stress that is going on through her life, she lies about things and manipulate other people. She lies on having a vacation leave at her work when the truth is she got fired because of her involvement with a seventeen year old. Blanche also does not want to expose her real age to the public. In the first poker scene, Blanche and Mitch set up drama for the rest of the play. She says to Mitch, “I bought this adorable little colored paper lantern… Put it over the lightbulb! Will you please?” Mitch replied, “Be glad to.” And Blanche said, ” I can’t stand a naked light bulb, any more the I can a rude remark or a vulgar action”. The light is something Blanche avoids, which she directly admits “The light? What for? “. When she asks Mitch to cover the light with paper, she is metaphorically asking him to cover the truth. By relating the words “naked,” “rude,” and “vulgar” to “light,” she suggests that these are associations she tries to avoid. By covering the light, she also covers vulgarity, nakedness, and rudeness: all aspects of truth about herself she wants to hide. On the other hand, Blanche’s manipulation on Mitch shows how very desperate she is in needing someone in life. Blanche has a fantasy that having her relationship with Mitch can work out when in reality, she just want a safe haven for her life. She admits to her sister: ” I want to be near you, you got to be with somebody, I can’t be alone!” It shows that she is willing to get control of her life again and create new relationships. However, she was never in loved with Mitch. In Stella’s question on Blanche if he really love Mitch she replies: “I want to rest! I want to breathe quietly again! Yes— I want Mitch…very badly! Just think! If it happens! I can leave here and not be anyone’s problem…” This statement represents her feelings about Mitch. She refers him as a thing because she needs him not because she love him but her wants to escape the harshness of life. But she also loses her hopes when Stanley steps in to uncover her dark past to Mitch. Stanley’s realistic outlook wants to protect his friend Mitch from making a wrong decision and hence separates Blanche’s delusions from her lies. For Stanley, her life is full of lies which she uses in order to manipulate others. On the other hand, for Blanche, the lies about her life are created delusions to survive.
Tennessee Williams shows us how an individual reacts to the harshness of life. Blanche’s main purpose in seeking a safe haven is to find security and to gain control of her life. The illusions that she created are her ways to survive the society that cannot accept her delusions and it also shows her desire to escape reality life throughout the play.