Blanche Dubois and Tom Wingfield’s Struggle Between Fantasy and Reality

March 22, 2018 Teaching

Blanche DuBois and Tom Wingfield’s Struggle Between Fantasy and Reality The two characters, Blanche DuBois from A Streetcar Named Desire and Tom Wingfield of The Glass Menagerie, both share an intense struggle between fantasy and reality in their lives causing dependency upon alcohol. Blanch DuBois approaches as a high class Southern Belle who depends upon others to care for her, but in reality she thrives on her self-proclaimed royalty.

Meanwhile, Tom Wingfield is a pessimistic character who deprives his life working at a shoe factory for his mother and sister while living in the shadows of his father. Both these characters also develop a dependency upon alcohol to overcome conflicts they are faced with. Blanche’s struggle occurs after losing all she had back home in Belle Reve except her trunk of clothes and props, but is exposed to the hash reality of the real world where she cannot cope and must depend on others.

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One example, such as Stanley Kowalski’s friend, Mitch, whom she instantly wants to marry to be saved from her current degrading lifestyle. “Ms. DuBois says that she is on vacation at the Kowalski’s, but in fact has lost the family mansion, Belle Reve, and her teaching position due to her sexual indiscretions, the last one with a 17-year-old boy while earning a reputation for sleeping with men indiscriminately, in the meantime pretending to be a Southern bell (Magill pars. 1-2). Blanche is so caught up in her fantasy world that she even had relations with the delivery boy, as well, so she may mask her age with youth and to have control of another. Tom finds himself struggling to fulfill his dreams of writing poetry. This is due to his working at the local shoe factory so he can support his family. “Mr. Wingfield is desperately unhappy in his warehouse job, and finds himself standing on the fire-escape to the apartment in his hopes of one day fleeing to pursue his dreams as his father did (Bloom pars. 15-16). Tom is always speaking of how he is held down from his hopes, goals, dreams, and ambitions stuck in the shoe factory making a lousy salary for his family, made up of a sick sister and delirious mother. Tom cannot accept the reality that surrounds him and is always contemplating about his dream life, which he is kept from achieving. Blanche, like Tom, abuses alcohol to escape her struggles between fantasy and reality. Blanche is noticeably an abuser of alcohol as she is found constantly sipping away at liquor to forget her past, which her conscience knows is guilty.

Tom is said to be at “the movies,” meanwhile he is actually out at the bars all hours of the night. This is Tom’s way of temporarily escaping his home and forgetting his duties that trap and prevent him from accomplishing his goals in life. Neither character was in need of alcohol, but abused it to an intolerable level, where they consumed it when facing rough times or troubling memories that followed. Also, in both plays these two characters hid the fact that they ever even consumed liquor, while they were always drinking in complete denial.

The two characters, Blanche DuBois from A Streetcar Named Desire and Tom Wingfield of The Glass Menagerie, both share an intense struggle between fantasy and reality in their lives causing dependency upon alcohol. Blanche’s inability to cope with the real world alone makes her a weak character. She cannot live independently and has lost all that once made her life, back in Belle Reve, due to her confused relationship with a student of hers. Tom, on the contrary, has a strong character that is chipped away at over time due to the tormenting lifestyle he must live to support his family.

After time this strong foundation of character diminishes as Tom wants to flee his stationary life back at home. 1. Magill Book Reviews 1990/03/15 2. Bloom’s Modern Critical Interpretations: The Glass Menagerie; 1988, p31-41, 11p 3. Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature; Letter D, pN. PAG, 1p 4. Tennessee Williams. A Streetcar Named Desire. Harold Bloom – editor. Publisher: Chelsea House. Place of Publication: New York. 1988. 5. Tennessee Williams. The Glass Menagerie. Harold Bloom – editor. Publisher: Chelsea House. Place of Publication: New York. 1988.

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