You Are Not Fooling Anyone!

         In the 1947 play A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams, as well as the 1951 film, directed by Elia Kazan, Blanche DuBois is a woman that is very hypocritical to herself. She appears to be a goody-goody, while in reality she is the town whore. Portrayed in the film by Vivien Leigh, Blanche comes to visit her sister, Stella Kowalski (Kim Hunter), and her husband, Stanley (Marlon Brando), and by the end of the film she leaves quite an impression!

         Blanche comes to Elysian Fields, a part of New Orleans, to visit Stella, telling everyone that she had been working so hard teaching, that she just needed a break. Really, Blanche had been romantically involved with one of her students and had been fired. She had lost the two sisters' home place, Belle Reve, had no money, and had nowhere else to go but to Stella's. Blanche also wears elaborate clothes and furs, claiming they were gifts from her many admirers, when she really had none. Finally, she talks of hardly ever having a drink, yet she drinks herself into a stupor daily off Stanley's whiskey.

         Why would Blanche lie to her own sister? It does not matter to Stella whether Blanche is rich or poor, although it does matter to Blanche. Blanche is always making derogatory comments about Stanley and Stella's apartment, as well as about Stanley himself. Blanche does not think that Stanley, portrayed in the film by Marlon Brando, is good enough. Stanley, who works and is Stella's husband, is not good enough, but apparently all the random men Blanche had fooled around with back home were!

         In the end, when Blanche is exposed for who she really is, her wall of lies comes tumbling down on her. She ends up having a nervous breakdown, caught in her dream world, not fully knowing who she really is and is taken to a mental hospital. If she had only come to terms with who she really was, she could have changed. By admitting to herself that she had done some things that she was not proud of, she could have spared everyone a lot of heartache. Instead, by lying to herself and everyone else, not only does she self-destruct, but she also destroys everyone around her.

Sarah Poat

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