A Streetcar Named Desire

Blanche’s Flaws and Her Ultimate Downfall 11th Grade

In Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, despite Blanche Dubois’ desire to start fresh in New Orleans, her condescending nature, inability to act appropriately on her desires, and denial of reality all lead to her downfall. Blanche believes that her upper class roots put her above the “commoners” she spends the summer with, which gives her a pretentious attitude that bothers other characters. Desire, a main theme of Streetcar, acts as a precursor to negative outcomes in Blanche’s past and time spent at Elysian Fields. Blanche also lives in a fantasy world, finding herself entangled in lies she tells others and herself. These flaws in Blanche’s character cause her eventual destruction.

The distaste Blanche has for “commonness” is present from the beginning, and is condescending and offensive to others. Blanche is surprised upon her arrival to Stella’s home in Elysian Fields, which is described by Williams as “poor, but, unlike corresponding sections in the American cities, it has a raffish charm.” (13) When she finds Stella, she demands to know why her sister lives where she does. “Why didn’t you let me know … That you had to live in...

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