A Street Car Named Desire is a play set in New Orleans, Louisiana after the Second World War. The play begins when the main character, Blanche DuBois, arrives at Stella’s apartment. Stella is Blanche’s sister despite the fact that they have not been in close contact over the recent past. Blanche is a teacher but is in a financial difficulty having lost their ancestral home, Belle Rave, in a legal battle after the death of all their relatives. The school administrators granted Blanche a job leave because of her bad demeanor. Blanche is broke and cannot afford to rent an apartment of her own although she hates her sister’s apartment. Her condescension makes Stanley Kowalski, Stella’s husband, to dislike her. Due to her troubles, Blanche resorts to heavy drinking and conceals it from both Stella and Stanley. Williams uses Blanche and Stanley to highlight the theme of fantasy away from reality.
Stella and Stanley’s marriage is not well as manifested by Stanley’s behavior when hosting his friends playing poker game in his apartment. Stanley becomes unhappy when Blanche develops a romantic relationship with his close friend, Mitch. He even beats Stella when she defends her sister, manifesting his insecurities. Blanche tries to convince Stella to look for a better man but to no avail. Blanche and Mitch’s relationship develops after each reveals their difficult past relationships.
Stella prepares dinner for Blanche’s birthday. Stanley reveals to Stella Blanche’s sordid past especially her numerous sexual liaisons. Stanley blackmails Blanche by threatening to reveal her past sexual liaisons to Mitch. He gives her a bus ticket to Laurel, as a birthday present. Stanley comes back from the hospital where Stella gave birth to find Blanche her drunk. Stanley subdues Blanche physically and rapes her. The next scene begins by Stella and her neighbor, Eunice, parking Blanche’s bags unable to believe that Stanley raped her. Blanche looks delusional and even fights the doctors and nurses who came to take her to the hospital.
Williams uses Blanche to highlight fantasy and the inability to perceive reality. She refuses to perceive the real world but instead delves into delusions. She lies about herself and her past often deluding herself. Her struggle with Stanley indicates the contrast between appearance and reality. William also uses the contrast between Kowalski’s apartment and the outside street to indicate the inability to overcome reality. Although reality triumphs over fantasy at the end of the play, Blanche experiences delusional happiness that indicates the importance of fantasy in a person’s life.
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