Compare the concept of fantasy vs Essay

Submitted By Amani-Mitha
Words: 1412
Pages: 6

‘Compare the concept of fantasy vs. reality within A Streetcar Named Desire and Atonement.’

Both texts explore the concept of fantasy vs. reality, and attain similar themes, albeit A Streetcar Named Desire’s backdrop is set in America, specifically, New Orleans. A Streetcar Named Desire describes the decline of a fading Southern Belle, Blanche DuBois. While, the backdrop of Atonement, is World War Two, in England and revolves and is written in Briony Tallis’ perspective. It is palpable that Briony, as a fantasist, has an obsession with control, and an overactive imagination, that causes her to falsify a statement, which, in return leaves her relationship with her elder sister, Cecilia permanently damaged. However, Briony and Blanche both use allusion and fantasy as a scapegoat from reality. Blanche, with her ‘modest and old – fashioned’ life when she visited her younger sister, Stella in Laurel when it is tangible she gained a bad reputation in Belle Reve because she slept with numerous men. This is similar to Briony who is unable to understand complex adult relationships, particularly Robbie and Cecilia. Initially, Briony is a writer of fiction with its own kind of truth, entirely dependent on her fantasies. When she witnesses the fountain incident between Robbie and Cecilia she decides to abandon her usual melodramatic genre in favour of narrative’s truthful and impartial different perspectives. However her vivid imagination and failure to understand an adult sexual relationship, causes her to pass judgement in her creation of fiction around Robbie Turner, and this leads to her crime in accusing him of rape. She then attempts to use fiction to correct the errors of her imagination – to project herself into the feelings of the two characters whose lives her failure of imagination has destroyed.

Both Blanche and Briony have somewhat been left to their own devices, neither have the constant love and affection of siblings or friends. Blanche who became bankrupt when caring for her loved ones in their latter part of their life and later, their funerals and Briony who has not had the comfort of a mother owing to her acute migraines. Their desire to refuse to accept reality causes similarities between the two characters. With Blanche’s it is difficult to distinguish between when she has lost her hold on reality; when she’s simply imagining a better future for herself, and when she’s immersed in fiction and indulging in romantic fantasies. Blanche is engulfed with her fantasy, that even as time has passed, and she lost Belle Reve, she still holds the beauty that once attracted many suitors, and believes she holds southern aristocratic wealth. According to the critic George Hovis, “Blanche’s involvement with Mitch here is essentially autoerotic; she is interested in the moment only for the possibility of projecting fantasies that seems from her first introduction to Bohemian with her poet husband” She seeks to involve Mitch to be a part of her imagination but he seems to feel uncomfortable. She lights the candle and says “We are going to be very Bohemian. We are going to pretend that we are sitting in a little artist’s café on the Left Bank in Paris!” Mitch is representing the real world because he talks with her about the domestic things like perspiration and the coat material, whereas Blanche creates the world of illusion in order to compensate for the lack of interest during their date. Even though Mitch doesn’t fit well in the world she created for him she reaches the point of intimacy by being honest about her first husband and the guilt she endures. Blanche has a fantasy that her relationship with Mitch can work out when in reality she just wants a safe haven for life. She admits to her sister: “I want to be near you, got to be with somebody, I can’t be alone!” (Williams 477). These words show that she is yet again willing to get control of her life and create new relationships. However, she was