Differences in People’s Perception of Reality in the Context of A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

The inadequacy of humans’ ability to discern what is real amid complex situations is a factor that forces people to have different meanings and views on all things existing. Heightened by people’s internal and external conflicts, the different perspectives of reality are proven to be an unconquerable source of conflict in the society. The differences in people’s perception of reality transcend beyond the definition of a systemic psycho-social problem because such differences include opposing value systems, institutionalized beliefs, social ethical codes and the omnipresent patriarchal ideology in the socieities.

Such differences are all seen in gender issues as men have their own vision of reality built with their ethical and moral constructs in which women are of inferior status. One insightful literature that exposes the differences in people’s perception of reality as a major source of conflict is the book titled A Streetcar Named Desire written by Tennessee Williams. This book is a reflection of how patriarchy remains dominant in the struggle against people’s incapacity to discern what is real. This book reveals the uncertainty of destiny and failure to cope with complex situations.

The female characters in the story, Blanche and Stella are passionate women who are controlled by their external and internal conflicts. These conflicts overshadow their strong desire for love and freedom making them vulnerable and susceptible to harsh attacks from the patriarchal society. The external conflicts that overpower the life of Blanche are a valuable factors that give great contradictions to her. Economic background is one external conflict inherent in the character of Blanche. Even though she has noble features embedded in her personality, and a lofty social background, her destiny is doomed from the very beginning.

This is because she is ignorant about how complex and cruel life can be amid wealth and luxury. As Belle Reve, the family mansion has been traded in exchange for the epic fornications of their grandfathers, uncles, and their father, Blanche goes to Stella’s refuge to start a new life but is failed to do so (Tennessee 2004). Her shift from high social status becomes her external conflict that weakens her against the male characters, the domineering Stanley and Mitch. She lives under the pressure of a failed status and failed marriage and the social rules in which Stanley is the tyrant.

Living with Stella, Blanche fails to see the “reality” of the world that contrasts with her beautiful and luxurious dreams. Blanche fails to overcome the cruelity of the real world because she has covered her eyes with horror, uneasiness, revenge and frustration. She never find a way to face the truth head on and all the she does is to take a detour and away from the world that she does not expect. The inner conflict existing in Blanche include her sexual involvement with strangers as the embodiment of her irrational indulgence for sex and caring for a lonely heart.

The satisfactions of her desire has been the main context of her living and she will take no initiatives to suppress it. She makes her own reality by committing to take her passion to life while neglecting ethical standards and moral values. Her untamed tongue is a reflection that she would not take any negation and considerations when it comes to her desire. As for Stella, she fails to see the cruelty of her husband because her eyes are pointed only to one direction and one belief: that her man cannot do such a thing because of love and commitment. Stella’s external conflict is her marriage to her husband.

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justify">She cannot face the harsh truth because she defines her marriage as fidelity and righteousness alone. She is blinded by her love and cannot see the several dimensions surrounding marriage such as lust. Another conflict in Stella’s character is her economic role of making her own living (Tennessee 2004). Stella is so consumed with making money and establishing her own life that she forgets to be sensitive to the needs of her significant others. All that she cares for is her marriage and moneymaking. Stella’s one vision of reality reflects a peaceful and successful marriage with Stanley whom she loves most and loves her faithfully in return.

Her reality is built within the constructs of society’s ethical and moral standards. Her whole life is controlled by fantasy to which she creates an unbreakable bond. The male characters in the story Mitch and Stanley represent life’s antagonistic feature that human beings tend to negate or consider as unreal. As the antagonists, they are the object of the assumption that conflicts arise when humans fail to recognize cruelty as part of llife’s reality. The imperfection of the two characters substantiate the fact that Stella and Blanche are blinded by their illusions, fantasies and fulfillment of their desires.

Stanley and Mitch bring the illusion of the female characters into fierce confrontation with the cruel reality. Mitch and Stanley also represent the dominance of patriarchy in conflicts. They have the edge in the conflict because they fulfill the illusion and dreams of Stella and Blanche while at the same time make up the cruel reality of the female characters’ lives. Mitch and Stanley are the unconquerable force that lead to the external and internal conflicts of the female characters. Stella and Blanche tend to establish that men are solely owned by their worlds of dreams instead of considering them as objects of life’s reality.

The differences in people’s perceptions of reality are determined by their external and internal conflicts. These differences create an outwardly conflict that may destroy personal relationships. Such differences arise when people focus on only one aspect or dimension of life instead of creating a holistic picture of life’s reality. The external and internal conflicts lead to such differences and bring constant suffering. The male antagonists symbolize tension and cruelty which are all part of life that tend to crush people emotionally and physically.

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