Street Car Named Desire

A single tragic event can affect you for your whole life and also make it harder to live. In the play, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, we are introduced to Blanche Dubois. When Blanche was only 16 she fell in love and married a man named Allan only to later discover he was bisexual, this totally disgusted her and she let him know. Her attitude towards his sexuality prompted him to commit suicide. She felt responsible and could not get over the fact that he was dead, along with many other close relatives who were dying right before her eyes. The funeral expenses forced her to sell Belle Reve, the family plantation, and live with her sister Stella. These events forced her to live an unhappy life and totally ruined her.

Before Blanche arrives at Stella and Stanley’s apartment in New Orleans, she tries to ease the miseries in her life by drinking liquor heavily and having affairs with different men. She also uses the alcohol to stop the polka music inside of her head which remind her of Allan’s death, and to avoid the real truth of her past. Blanche’s attempts to seem virtuous and good destroy her chance at. When she meets Mitch, Stanley’s close friend, she is drawn to his sensitive ways. He also falls in love with her, believing that she is pure and innocent. Throughout their time flirting, she plays her role perfectly, telling him that she is not easy like many girls. When Mitch discovers the truth about her past, he is horrified, and feels he has been deceived. Had Blanche been more truthful with him from the beginning, things could have ended up different but because her personality would not let her face the harsh reality she is eventually deserted by Mitch.

Stanley, on the other hand, is totally incapable of understanding Blanche from the beginning. He is tough and resents her delicate, refined ways. He is a man who wants all the cards laid on the table and demands the complete truth. In his household, he also demands loyalty and respect, which Blanche is unwilling to give because in a way she has a grudge towards Stanley as he can see right through her. For Blanche, coming to the realization of her sorrows and tragedies is almost impossible.

Blanche is the type who only survives by essentially avoiding life, especially other people. When pushed to her limits, she tends to become psychotic, retreating finally into her own personal world and starts to have illusions. As a result of things that happened to her during her life, she prefers darkness and dim candlelight, the perfect setting for her make-believe world that has no pain or memories. It also hides the reality of her departed youth and intruding age.

In the end of the play, Stella tells Blanche that a past lover is coming to pick her up meanwhile a doctor and nurse are coming to take Blanche to an insane asylum. Even her own sister ends up betraying her. Her fragility, her inability to keep herself safe, and her illusions have eventually brought her to madness. In an earlier part of the story, we learn that Stanley rapes Blanche to push her over the edge, and sadly, he was successful. She was pushed to the limit, which forced her to become mentally ill. Unfortunately, Blanche is unable to let go of the past, it is her fatal flaw. She still allows the same polka music to keep haunting her. As a result, she cannot face the present or the future, but hides in a dream world that eventually destroys her. One tragic event, Allan’s suicide, eventually caught up with her and she could not hide no more.