Blanche's World

     Picture yourself in a dream world--a world where things are not as they seem. The world never ages, and you never change. You just stay in your favorite place with your favorite people all the time no matter where you are. This world is Blanche's world. She lived it every day in Tennessee Williams' 1947 A Streetcar Named Desire, filmed in 1951 by Elia Kazan. This world is called mental illness. It was filled with good and bad memories. Blanche was on an emotional rollercoaster every day. She never knew what the next day might bring.

     When Blanche (Vivien Leigh on screen) was happy, she often placed herself back into her youth--a time when young men called on her, and she was the apple of every man's eye. When placing herself back into this world, she would dress up, put on a rhinestone tiara and prance around the house like a princess. Could this be so bad? Is it not every woman's dream to live in her adolescence, to stay young forever? This world is a woman's dream come true. To live like this forever has to be the answer to one's fear of aging. What else can one ask for?

     But, Blanche's world was not always one that was to be envied. She was trapped by her mental illness in her youth forever. She had a past that would come back to haunt her on her bad days. She often heard haunting death music and gunshots. She relived the death of her young husband daily. This was the downside to Blanche's world. When celebrating her youth, she could never break away from the horrible memories of her past.

     Upon comparing these worlds, one realizes that mental illness is a terrible disease that is battled throughout one's life. It is not an answer to staying young. It is a trap that may take years to escape. Blanche's world was one that changed daily and never let her know what tomorrow would bring. This world eventually saw Blanche's life crumble before her eyes. There was nothing she could do to stop it, only live for the good memories and run from the bad.

Millicent Wilkins

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