Self Delusions: A Streetcar Named Desire

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  • Topic: Delusion, Blanche DuBois, Delusional disorder
  • Pages : 9 (2296 words )
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  • Published : May 2, 2014
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Self-Delusions: A Streetcar Named Desire

In this close reading analysis I will be focusing on the characters Stella and Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams. I am going to analyze the self-delusions of these two sisters and how their delusions help or harm other characters. By doing so, I will be able to show how their behavior in some specific instances shapes our judgment on them as a reader.  The character Stella has some delusions about her marriage. She believes that it is acceptable for her husband Stanley to abuse her. This occurs toward the end of scene three after Stella insults her drunk husband; “Drunk – drunk – animal thing, you! [She rushes through to the poker table] All of you – please go home! If any of you have one spark of decency in you” (62). Stanley then charges her in a drunk rage and abuses his pregnant wife. In the time of this play, it would have been more acceptable for a man to put his hands on his wife. But as a reader today, it is very hard to understand why Stella thinks this shouldn’t be made “too much fuss about” and “it wasn’t anything serious”(72). Being a victim of abuse would put any person in a very emotional state and likely lead to a feeling of entrapment because of fear that they will be hurt if they try to leave the person. Not only does this delusion hurt Stella herself, but it also hurts her sister. Blanche feels as though Stella does not understand how terrible it is that she’s being treated this way. When Stella goes on about how it’s normal for Stanley to act this way and how she is “sort of – thrilled by it…I’m not in anything I want to get out of” (73) Blanche wants her to “Pull [herself] together and face the facts… [she’s] married to a mad man!” (73). Blanche even believes that Stella’s situation at home may be worse than her own. She goes on to say “your fix is worse than mine is…you’re not being sensible about it. I’m going to do something. Get hold of myself and make myself a new life!” (73). The one person that this action does not seem to hurt is Stanley. He gets to exercise his anger and pent-up aggression on Stella just because she is there. He can go off the handle and still get love and respect from his devoted wife. This delusion that Stella seems to live with is surely is one that will continue to control her person throughout the play. Another significant delusion of Stella’s is that she sees Blanche as very innocent in all the things that have happened to her. There are plenty of times throughout the play where Stella takes care of Blanche and shelters her from Stanley’s strong thoughts about her. One specific instance in the play is when Stanley is looking through all of Blanches things. He finds furs, jewels, and a pile of clothes that he seems to think are worth a lot of money. With Blanche being in his home, without contributing, this leads him to believe that she’s hiding money from the estate they “lost”. Stella assures Stanley that this is not the case and Blanche has had these possessions a long time. Stella begs her husband to understand her sisters fragile state; “There’s plenty of time to ask her questions later but if you do now she’ll go to pieces again…you don’t know how ridiculous you’re being when you suggest that my sister… could have perpetrated a swindle on anyone else” he replies, “Then where’s the money if the place was sold?...Open your eyes to this stuff! You think she got them out of a teacher’s pay?” (33). It is true that Belle Reve was lost, not sold, and Blanche is telling the truth about it; she is in fact innocent in this. But, when it comes to her sexual encounters with various men and the surfacing of this information by Stanley, Stella does not believe that Blanche would do such a thing. In scene seven, Stanley tells Stella about all the lies that she has been telling them all; “…the management of the Flamingo was impressed by Dame Blanche…they requested her to turn in her room-key - for permanently! This...
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