To escape the harsh and unforgiving nature of reality, individuals often attempt to cushion their experiences through the use of gentle illusions. In the wake of trauma and hardship, one often turns to falsehoods to protect oneself from pain. However, in doing so, one risks an even greater and more painful process of disillusionment, which may greatly exacerbate human suffering. It is necessary to dispel the deceptively safe and tempting appearance of illusion. In A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, illusion serves both as a tool of self preservation and as a catalyst of ruin for Blanche Dubois. Ultimately, through her narrative, the author offers a commentary on the human condition and its relation to truth and reality.
Blanche employs illusion and deception as a means of self preservation, in order to survive both physically and emotionally. During and following the loss of Belle Reve, Blanche is left struggling to support herself and must use deceitful strategies to protect her physical and economic wellbeing. In order to sustain herself, Blanche is forced to seek a husband who can support her financially and thus creates an illusion of purity to attract suitors.
It is demonstrated that Blanche’s desire is to no longer be a financial burden to her sister, and her need for physical and economic preservation cause her to deceive Mitch about her real age and nature. By concealing these aspects of her character, she attempts to maintain her attractiveness as a method of self preservation. Although ultimately her efforts to deceive Mitch into marrying her fail, the illusion she creates acts as a prospective source of stability and happiness in her future, and thus can be viewed as a tool of physical self preservation.
In conclusion, in A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams,illusion serves both as a tool of self preservation and as a catalyst of ruin for Blanche Dubois. Through her narrative, the author demonstrates the dangerous nature of illusion as tool to mask suffering. Williams offers a critical representation of man’s tendency to protect himself from reality, simply to maintain a superficial pretense of happiness. After all, perhaps pain is best left unfiltered.