How would you describe the theme of self-pity in A Streetcar Named Desire?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The theme of self- pity is seen in the strongest manner with Blanche.  I think that Blanche engages in self- pity as a way to deal with reality as well as what consciousness has placed in her path.  Her self- pity sometimes takes the form of how no one understands her or as a reflection of the many challenging elements she has had to endure.  At the same time, her self- pity is a way to reflect how different she is from the social order in which she finds herself.  The days of her past are literally past, and in their place is a social configuration that she cannot embrace nor understand.  Self- pity is the way in which she addresses such a condition.  Her display of self- pity becomes part of her character, making it difficult at times to fully accept or understand her.  However, it is this self pity that helps to define her character in the play.  To a certain extent, this self- pity creates a barrier between she and others in the play, making it easier for these individuals to demonize her and reject her as the "other."

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A Streetcar Named Desire

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