Street Car A Streetcar Named Desire: Thematic Analysis (Time/Adaptation) Nick Michalak ENG 4AO June 15, 1999 Mr. Beckett The theme of time/adaptation is used in Tennessee Williams play A Streetcar Named Desire. This theme is used to describe the plight of the lead character, Blanche Dubois. Blanche clings to her past as a the only source of real happiness in her life. She refuses to accept that things have changed, and she is not the woman she was ten years ago.
Blanche looks down at her sister for accepting a life that is relatively obscure when compared to the posh surroundings they were raised in. Blanche harbors the delusion that she will be rescued by a man who will carry her away from her all of her problems. It is this stubborn refusal to adapt to a new life that causes Blanches descent into madness. Blanche clings to her past as a the only source of real happiness in her life. She refuses to accept that things have changed, and she is not the woman she was ten years ago. One thing that Blanche will forever dwell upon is her looks.
She cannot accept that she is no longer young and beautiful, yet she insists on convincing everyone to the contrary. “You know that I havent put on one ounce in ten years, Stella? (Pg. 22)” Perhaps it is true that Blanche has not gained any weight, but the fact that she feels the need to brag about it illustrates her own insecurities. Blanche is very insecure about her aging looks, so much so that she feels the need to deceive Mitch, a man she wants to marry. “What it means is Ive never had a real good look at you, Blanche. (pg.
116)” Blanche is obsessed with making people see her as the girl she was ten years ago, rather than the aging woman she is today. In her own mind, Blanche has not changed in the past ten years. This shows her refusal to adapt to the present, which is a contributing factor in her inevitable downfall. Blanche looks down at her sister for accepting a life that is relatively obscure when compared to the posh surroundings they were raised in. This is evident from the time Blanche first arrives at Elysian Fields. “They mustnt haveunderstoodwhat number I wanted.
(pg. 15)” Blanche is in utter disbelief that her sister, whom she still regards as a member of high-society, could reside in a working-class neighborhood. She goes so far as to openly pity her sister for her low-class lifestyle. “Why, that you had to live in these conditions! (pg. 20)” Blanche is insulting Stellas choice of accepting a more common lifestyle.
The fact that Blanche looks down at her sisters low-class lifestyle shows that she still regards herself as a high-class individual. Therefore, Blanche is living in a world of fantasy where she has convinced herself that she is the same woman she was when her family was still wealthy and powerful. Blanche harbors the delusion that she will be rescued by a man who will carry her away from all of her problems. She deceives Mitch because she wants to ensure a perfect romance; one free of imperfections such as her face. She confesses to Mitch that she lives in a world of romantic fantasy.
“I dont want realism, I want magic! Yes, yes, magic! I try to give that to people. I misrepresent things to them. I dont tell the truth, I tell what ought to be the truth. And if that is sinful, then let me be damned for it! –Dont turn the light on! (pg. 117)” This quote shows that Blanche has begun to lose her mind.
She sums up her state of metal-well being by admitting to telling “what ought to be the truth”. Blanche also appears frantic when Mitch tries to turn on the light, indicating that she is still very much self-conscious about her looks. When things have fallen apart with Mitch, Blanche resorts to making up an elaborate fantasy to console her. “I received a telegram from an old admirer of mine. (pg. 123)” This is her last attempt to find some sort of happiness before she is committed to the asylum.
It is this stubborn refusal to adapt to a new life that causes Blanches descent into madness. She insists on deceiving everyoneherself includedinto thinking that she is the same woman she was ten years ago. Blanche dwells in the rubble of her shattered past, rather than rebuilding on it. Her insecurities force her to develop a string of complex lies to cover her own numerous flaws. These lies turn into delusions as she begins to believe them herself, which leads to Blanches total loss of sanity.