Assess Blanche's pursuit of romance and illusion in A Streetcar Named Desire.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For Blanche' the pursuit of romance is steeped in illusion.  Blanche's conception of love and romance are colored by her desire to cling to illusion.  It is reality and all the seediness that is intrinsic to it that drives her to clutch firmly to illusion as part of her pursuit of romance. Her romance of the old South in the form of Belle Reve is an example of this.  Such a romance of the past is tethered to the idea of illusion and what it represents.  Blanche does not examine the conditions of a realistic view of the past, but rather understands it as something in which there is illusion that provides a shelter from the storm of the present.  For Blanche, the idea of romance is something that is too brutal and too painful to view without illusion.  Her own experiences in romance are ones in which love has been extinguished such as in her marriage or involved in something socially condemned such as in her time as teaching.  One can even understand why her embrace of illusion in romance is evident when she is raped by Stanley.  Illusion is her narcotic to the pain of romance.  While it is easy to condemn her as being unrealistic, the reality of the situation is that Williams presents Blanche is akin to what it means to be human; a condition in which the pursuit of romance is inextricably linked to the condition of illusion, dulling its pain and making life more bearable.

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A Streetcar Named Desire

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