Depicting the Difference Between Reality and Illusion in ‘A Streetcar named Desire’ by Tennessee Williams and ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F.Scott Fitzgerald
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Compare and Contrast the ways in which both texts portray individuals in the grip of dreams and illusions
‘A Streetcar named Desire’ by Tennessee Williams and ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F.Scott Fitzgerald both depict the conflict between reality and illusion centring on the desire to achieve the ‘American dream,’ which causes many characters in the texts to become engulfed in dreams and fantasy.
Gatsby and Blanche are the protagonists of the texts not only due to their central role in the plots, but also that they are characters who most desire to live under illusion. Blanche desperately seeks to escape her past reputation which contrasts with Gatsby’s desire to relive the past where he had Daisy, however both illusions are equally damaging. Blanche’s desire is the catalyst for her demise however it is her inability to recognise society’s rejection of promiscuity within women which leads to her tragic fate. Blanche’s relationship with Stanley is a clear example of her desire causing her suffering. Upon their first meeting Stanley says, ‘My clothes are stickin to me. Do you mind if I make myself comfortable?’ and Blanche replies, “Please, please do”. This initial flirting culminates in Stanley raping her which emotionally for the audience raises the question of how much of a victim we see Blanche as. Conversely, whilst Blanche tries to escape time Gatsby tries to reverse it. Ironically, it was his unfaltering desire for material gain that caused him to lose Daisy, depicting the