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A Streetcar Named Desire

            In the play "A Streetcar Named Desire" by Tennessee Williams, there are several prevalent themes. One theme that is noticeable from the beginning of the play is the theme of the effect of death and desire on one's personal psyche. This is allegorically represented through Blanche DuBois's riding of the streetcars named Desire and Cemeteries. While this theme is important, it is not as important as another theme that is demonstrated through the characteristics of Blanche and other characters in the play. Due to past events in her life, Blanche has a difficult time coming to grips with real life. Conversely, Stanley Kowalski, Blanche's brother-in-law, is a very realistic person who seeks truth. The conflict between these two characters represents the battle between fantasy and reality. In "A Streetcar Named Desire", Tennessee Williams states that one can not shield himself from the harshness of reality by creating a fantasy alternative. Williams demonstrates this theme of reality versus fantasy through Stanley's success in finding the truth in Blanche's fictional world, the use of light symbolizing the truth that Blanche is afraid of, and the use of the setting of the Kowalski's apartment to represent the vulnerability of the interior to the exterior of the real world.
             From the moment Blanche arrives in New Orleans, Stanley is suspicious of her. When he learns that she has lost Belle Reve, he is convinced that she has swindled Stanley and Stella out of their share of the property. It is Stanley's questions about Blanche that prompt him to attempt to uncover her truth. Stanley and Blanche's untrusting of each other causes them to become conflicting characters throughout the play. They can be seen as foil characters since they take very different approaches to similar situations. They have both been placed in the uncomfortable position of sharing the apartment with a stranger.

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