The Interpretation Of Dreams : A Streetcar Named Desire, And The Grandmother

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In the words of Sigmund Freud, “The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind.” The legendary psychologist saw dreams as an avenue to study one’s underlying motives for action. Similarly, in literature one finds striking significance from the illusions of protagonists that often predict the nature of one’s psyche. Two such examples present themselves in Blanche, from Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, and the grandmother, from Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man is Hard to Find. The former tale follows a lady without a home who finds herself reliant on her belligerent and bestial brother-in-law. The latter traces a family’s road trip South and their encounter with a wanted fugitive. Both Blanche and the grandmother find themselves tethered to their idealistic and often times hypocritical fantasies which signify their underlying mental instability and foreshadow their eventual ruinations. Williams and O’Connor examine their protagonists’ delusions through gender, clothing, and nostalgia. Both Blanche and the grandmother shelter themselves from threats––verbal, physical, or reputational––by using their gender as a shield. In a conversation with Stanley, Blanche claims that “a woman’s charm is fifty per cent illusion” (91). She hides behind her identity as a woman to vindicate her deceit. Alone and heartbroken, she desperately attempts to marry Mitch for financial security, yet again utilizing her femininity for

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