To what exent does Blanche succumb to her own self deception

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James Kelley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The self-deception of Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams' play A Streetcar Named Desire is symbolized clearly in her purchase of a paper lantern to hang over a naked bulb in Stella and Stanley's New Orleans apartment. As symbolized in that action, Blanche seeks to do all she can to convince herself and others that things are much more lovely and more perfect than they truly are. She lies about her drinking, about her age, about the loss of the family estate... in short, she tries to deceive herself and others when it comes to unpleasant, hard truths. Her costume jewelry and her frequent baths may be seen as similarly symbolic of her self-deception; she wishes to continue to think of herself -- and to have others think of her -- as wealthy and as a "true Southern belle" (not, as she possibly may have been at the hotel in Laurel, as a prostitute).

Even with all her faults, Blanche remains the most remembered and probably the most pitied character in the play. People like to imitate or mock her occasionally (at least some of my friends do!), but we're probably all a little like her, repressing or avoiding some of the harsh truths at least for a while.

mkcapen1 | Student

In the play by Tennessee Williams "A Street Car named Desire" Blanche is a female character who goes to her sisters.  She has had a traumatic life brought on by her husband's suicide after she confronts him about his liaison with another male.  Blanche lives in a world of delusion.  She makes up lies about her past and pretends to be younger than her real age. 

Blanche has lived a lie for so long that she no longer is able to support the truth in her inner psyche.  When she is confronted by her lies, she loses her mind and ends up being taken to a mental hospital.  Blanches slip from reality is a progression of her inability to cope with her own aging process and loneliness.  She is also living in a time when it was difficult for women to support themselves which created a dependency on men.  In youth her looks may have allowed her to gain some support from men, but she is aware that she is one her last limb for finding someone to care for her.  This is due to the fading of her looks.  Her desperation has led to her own entanglement of self deception which eventually brings her down.


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A Streetcar Named Desire

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