Discuss which character in the drama reinforces the idea that, 'People often need to clutch on to delusions in order to deal with reality'?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The character that seems to embody the idea of clutching to delusions would have to be Blanche.  She represents this in a variety of ways.  Blanche is shown to be an individual who cannot deal with the paradigm shift of power in the new America.  From a time when she used to have power on Belle Reve, the new owners of power are people like Stanley.  The primitive and machismo of Stanley seems to be where power lies.  This leaves someone like Blanche on the outside.  Her romanticizing of Belle Reve and even the delusion that she can pry Stella from her husband back into her column is reflective of how much Blanche needs delusions and illusions in order to function in reality.  The delusional nature that Blanche embodies comes out in the end of the narrative when she goes with the doctor "depending on the kindness of strangers."  It is here where Blanche exposes both her uniquely human condition and one in which she represents a particular need for her delusions.  The dependence on others and her belief that she will be cared for by these individuals represents the height of her delusion, something that she needs in order to deal with what reality is.

tisjay | Student

The world that Blanche enters, when she arrives at Elysian Fields is a far cry from the world of Belle Reve. The world of Belle Reve with its quaint norms and codes of behaviour, which are beautiful in a way but in other ways, decadent, becomes a 'beautiful dream'. Elysian fields, on the other hand, is the new reality that Blanche has to cope with. The values and beliefs of this new world are embodied in Stanley, who is as much a symbol of this new world as Blanche is, of the old world. Stanley is a Polish immigrant who works as a manual labourer and a man who is expected to rise in his chosen field of work because he has the brawn to do so. He iis unimaginative and uneducated (his language is ungrammatical) and hence has little time for Blanche and her flights of fancy. Blanche's illusions and delusions seem like dishonesty to a man like Stanley who is (mostly) brutally honest as well as unimaginative. When Blanche arrives at Elysian Fields, the lines of battle are quickly drawn between Stanley and Blanche. Each fights to defend his/her way of life; values and beliefs. Blanche, for instance, seeks to defend what she sees as beautiful, in the face of what she perceives as ugly reality. In the process, she ignores some truths. Beautiful 'Belle Reve' had its own ugly secrets, but she would rather cover these up and pretend than become a part of Elysian Fields. Thus Blanche needs her delusions in order to face up to the reality that was Elysian Fields, symbolically represented by her brother - in -law, Stanley.

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A Streetcar Named Desire

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