The Mental Destruction of Blanche Dubois Essay

1658 Words Nov 18th, 2011 7 Pages
Tennessee William’s play A Street Car Named Desire offers a glimpse into the harsh reality faced by single southern woman in the 1940s. The 1940s was a time when females were viewed as delicate and fragile; therefore, it was understood that a male companion was a necessity to keep them safe and secure (Cook 84). The character of Blanche Dubois embodies the 1940s distressed female as she struggles with her environment. She is battling guilt, loneliness and financial insecurity when she arrives in Elysian Fields. Critics and audiences alike have mixed reactions to Blanche and her role as the tragic protagonist. In “The Space of Madness and Desire” Anne Fleche suggests Blanche is mad from the outset of the play. Others such as Leonard …show more content…
He suggests they could be there for one another because Blanche needs somebody too (116). To Mitch’s suggestion she replies with relief, “Sometimes-there’s God-so quickly!”(116). She feels as though all of her needs and wants have been answered, giving her hope for a secure future. Blanche needs Mitch as a stabilizing force in her life; if her relationship with him fails, she knows she faces a world that offers few prospects for a financially challenged, unmarried woman approaching middle age. She tacitly admits to Mitch that she needs him when she accepts his embrace, but her fears of acknowledging her past and current situation overpower her and prevent her from telling the full truth. She hides her past not only from Mitch, but also from herself because to acknowledge it is to also admit the unhealthy choices she has made. When Stanley tells Mitch about Blanche’s blemished past Mitch recognizes that Blanche’s deceptions have relied on a symbolic and literal darkness which obscures reality. When Mitch asks Blanche to be honest about herself she says, “I don’t want realism. I want Magic! I don’t tell truth, I tell what ought to be the truth” (145). In these lines Blanche clearly expresses her desire not to deal with reality; this inability to face her circumstances signifies that Blanche is not recovering from her mental stress, but rather descending further into it. Blanche becomes desperate and delusional and her descent into mental
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