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A Streetcar Named Desire was an interesting read on mental illness and the scary reality and culture our society has of women depending on men. Watching the movie after reading the play was quite shocking, as seeing the actions of Stanley and the steady decline of Blanche’s mind is alarming. Stanley raping Blanche was the tipping point for an already teetering Blanche, especially after her sister, Stella, refuses to believe her because Stella cannot live without Stanley. I do believe Blanche was traumatized by her husbands death and that was the catalyst for the sickness that began to plague her, however, an interesting line from Stella about Blanche that I believe is important is when she states that Blanche was always special, even as a child. I think Blanche has always had problems, but the tragedy of her husbands death, the shunning she experience as she tries to fill the void in her heart that was left by the death, and the her rape is when it finally all sets in and catches up with her. Even in one of the first scenes with Blanche that I read, I could tell there was something not quite right and this was capitalized on throughout the play.

Mental illness is a complicated and touchy subject for many, and is an issue that I believe no one will ever truly be able to understand because it is an individual experience. An interesting and powerful line in the play is one of the last lines given by Blanche when she is taken away to the psych ward. She says “..I have always depended on the kindness of strangers..”, and I think this is an interesting line when it comes to Blanches story and for the matter of mental illness. In today’s society, we speak of how one small smile or gesture to a stranger can go a long way since we never truly know what another person is going through. For Blanche, I believe this is true because strangers are who she attempted to fill the void in her heart with, and when that did not work out, she then filled her head with these strangers through extravagant stories and by manipulating and lying to those around her. Blanche does not live in reality which we are clearly able to see but those around her are not until it is too late. An n interesting part of the play is when Mitch notes that he has yet to see Blanche in the light and I believe this to be a metaphor. The light is reality which Blanche is unable to face and live in so she avoids it, and the darkness is her mental illness.

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