How are attitudesĀ about reality and illusion shown in the play A Streetcar Named Desire?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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There are distinct differences regarding reality and illusion in Tennessee Williams' play A Streetcar Named Desire.

Blanche has a great problem with reality. In order to live in her fantasy world, regarding remaining young, Blanche covers the lights in Stella and Stanley's flat in order to look younger. She, fearful of both reality and light, finds comfort in the illusion the dimmed light offers her appearance. Blanche even admits that "a woman's charm is fifty percent illusion." Blanche simply has created an illusion of what the world should be like. Blanche continually lies to herself and others about who she is--she simply exists in her own fantasy world.

As for Stanley, he lives in a world surrounded by reality. He readily accepts the fact that Blanche does not accept him. He works hard, plays harder, and takes what he knows to be his. He does not live by what others believe him to be or does he try to create a life he does not fit into. His sense of reality is very concrete.


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