The following quote is from Tennessee Williams' play A Streetcar Named Desire: “Yes, yes, magic! I try to give that to people I misrepresent things to them. I don’t tell the truth. I tell...

The following quote is from Tennessee Williams' play A Streetcar Named Desire:

“Yes, yes, magic! I try to give that to people I misrepresent things to them. I don’t tell the truth. I tell what ought to be the truth.”

How does this extract illuminate your understanding of secrets and lies?

Asked on by peter888

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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This quote is from Scene 9 of A Streetcar Named Desire when Mitch and Blanche break up after Stanley uncovers to Mitch the reality about Blanche's sexual past. Mitch is disgusted and upset; he no longer wants anything to do with Blanche. This leads him to ask other questions about her, such as why has he has never seen her in the daylight; she prefers twilight so that he cannot see signs of aging.

As Mitch rips apart a paper lamp to set the light upon Blanche's face, the latter screams that she does not want reality, but "magic." To Blanche it is perfectly fine to recreate reality, believe in whatever you wish to believe, and go on living a fantasy.

The way that this helps to illuminate our understanding of secrets and lies is by showing how reality is entirely dependent on perspective. People use filters to view their lives in a certain way. That becomes their reality. If they act on it, they are definitely telling lies and deceiving people but, to them, that is just the way they want their lives to be. It is unethical, it is deceptive, and it is improper. However, to what extent do we accuse someone of telling a lie when they feel, in their hearts, that this lie is true? Blanche had so much baggage that she opted to live a fake life where she could feel better about herself.  The problem with doing this, universally, is that we are obviously going against the grain with this behavior; sooner or later you will get found out.

Therefore, what Blanche's quote represents is the rationale behind why some people fake their lives, lie, and deceive. Some do it to make themselves believe that things are different; others do it because they are deceitful by nature and do not know how to communicate otherwise. Others do it out of malice. Still, one should realize that there is a deeper and darker motive that leads people to lie and pretend. Something is missing in their hearts and fantasy is the only thing that can save them.

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