Discuss how the text reinforces the idea that 'Our experiences prevent us from seeing the truth'. Reference a character and relate to Whose Reality?  

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tisjay | College Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

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Blanche is the character who is most divorced from reality in Streetcar. It could be said that Blanche's own experiences prevent her from seeing the truth or reality as perceived by Stanley, his friends, and to some extent, even Stella. Blanche's past was rooted in the Old South, with certain codes of behaviour governing relations between men and women. She had been a much sought-after beauty in the old South and fails to perceive that both youth and beauty have now left her. Her attempts to portray herself as young and beautiful make her seem pathetic and even grotesque. Her social life while she was still a young girl in the old South had been a round of parties, and hence she brings her tiara, gold lame dress, imitation fox furs and pearls to Elysian Fields, unwilling to take into account the reality of the lower class neighbourhood in which she is now living. Women of the Old South were supposed to be helpless, feminine and slightly flirtatious towards men, eliciting a chivalrous response from them in turn.  Thus she flirts slightly with her brother in law Stanley in an attempt to soften him, not recognizing the fact that Stanley is a different sort of man from the men she had known in her youth. Her actions and behaviour are misunderstood by Stanley with tragic consequences for her.  

Thus the reality that Blanche perceives is coloured by her experiences and is different to that perceived by Stanley. Yet, Stanley too is does not see the truth - the truth that Blanche has been wounded by her experiences; that despite her chequered past, there is an underlying innocence and purity about her; and that her so -called 'lies' are merely a desperate attempt to convert ugly reality into something more beautiful. Thus it can be said that truth is many -sided and that no single character perceives the entire truth. And though Blanche is most divorced from reality because of her past experiences, Stanley's perceived reality is one-sided and limited.


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