A Comparison of the Masks In Cold Blood, Streetcar Named Desire, and Fences

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Peeking Behind the Masks In Cold Blood, Streetcar Named Desire, and Fences

In life, we all attempt to project some kind of personality to others. We have a mask we wear in different situations, but when times get tough, we eventually discard our masks and become our true selves. We don't live behind our masks until the tragic end, like the characters of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, and Fences by August Wilson. The three characters, Perry Smith, Blanche DuBois, and Troy Maxson wore masks to their bitter endings, always trying to fool everyone else. When times got tough, they had to face themselves, and they could not stand the sight.

The characters of Blanche
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Harris states that DuBois "masks" her life. She doesn't want to face what she really is. The worst horror for her in her mind is for anyone else to see her true self.

The audience does see it almost right away, and they know from the first representation of DuBois that they are in for something else. Williams sets up DuBois' scenes so the audience can quickly ascertain her true personality. "The audience is, however, aware that baths and light bulbs have a meaning for Blanche apart from their functional existence" (Corrigan 575). Mary Ann Corrigan writes that DuBois is far from perfect, and the audience can see just that in her drinking of alcohol and her slight comments towards her sister and brother-in-law (575). Yet, the whole time she is hiding behind her mask, she tells everyone she only has a drink once in a while, and she needs her baths to relax.

The audience cannot mistake that Dubois does know who she really is, and what her situation holds for her. For this reason, she chooses to hide behind her mask of a southern belle, with her old dresses, rituals, and paper shaded light bulbs (Vogel 505).

Dan Vogel states in his book The Three Masks of American Tragedy,

She is beyond the capability of even attempting to control and manipulate the world about her. Obviously she recognizes truth, and the truth is that her life is compounded
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