Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

The Hired Girl

Laura Amy Schlitz

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10. Recap: Escapism, despair, insanity, etc. What's in it for you?

A Streetcar Named Desire Tennessee Williams 1984 by George Orwell Blanche Dubois Winston SmithEscapism. Despair. Insanity. The bricks-and-mortar of A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams.

Hopefully, those words don’t describe your life. But A Streetcar Named Desire has plenty to say, even to a “normal” person like you. Think about it: Have you ever tried to escape the emotional discomfort of an awkward situation by…pretending it didn’t happen…or explaining it away so you did’t have to deal with it…or by just checking out?

Well, Tennessee Williams has a message for you.


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You may be wondering what A Streetcar Named Desire has to do with you. I definitely did when I read it in high school. Up next, we’ll talk about why wallowing in Stella and Stanley and Blanche’s misery can actually change your life.

In A Streetcar Named Desire, life is rough. There’s poverty and drunkenness. There’s abuse and sexual indiscretions and loneliness and disappointment. And that’s just for starters. Did I mention that there’s no happy ending, either? So why is this play a classic? Besides being a brilliant piece of storytelling, I think it might have something to do with the lessons the play has to offer.

Lesson #1: Don’t let disappointments derail you.
In other words, when you face a disappointment, find the strength and the courage to move on. Blanche is a testament to what happens if you don’t.

Lesson #2: Escapism is not the answer.
In other words, deal with your problems. Don’t run from them or bury them in drugs or TV or video games.

Maybe that’s easier said than done. But A Streetcar Named Desire should give you a good reason to try. If you watched Recap 7, you know that Tennessee Williams doesn’t criticize Blanche for where she ends up. But I think he does offer her up as a warning about the dangers of escapism … and a promise of the life you can lead when you summon the courage to move forward.


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