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Finding Truth in Literature

            Truth is something that I once believed to be concrete, but has been twisted and manipulated in so many ways in these stories that it has altered my views. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams and An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce expertly meld the "truth" with the "ought-to-be-truth" to create interesting and thought-provoking stories. Blanche Dubois and Peyton Farquhar both live through "ought-to-be-truths" before falling from grace when the real truth is revealed. Both stories have two distinct versions of the truth that lead the reader to question what is more true, and what is more important to the story. In the case of Blanche, the truth is often manipulated, while for Peyton Farquhar, it is more a matter of subjective truth. Each of these stories show, in their own way, that it takes more than just the "truth" to understand a human being. Through the plot and dialogue in A Streetcar Named Desire, and An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, the "ought-to-be-truth" is evident, showing that the "ought-to-be-truth" is sometimes more important than the "truth.".
             Blanche Dubois creates her own life story based on what she believes should be the truth, rather than the "real" truth. Throughout the play, Blanche is portrayed as less and less trustworthy, before it is revealed that she has been lying about her entire situation. The signs that point to her dishonesty are often unclear or subliminal at first, such as these lyrics: "Say it's only a paper moon, sailing over a cardboard sea, but it wouldn't be make-believe if you believed in me." (120), that hint at the falseness of Blanche's story, and her desire to be believed. In A Streetcar Named Desire, the truth is symbolized by the light, which is why Blanche says "the dark is comforting to me" (143).

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