Blanche is very insecure about herself and this is one reason why she likes to block out all the light. She does not want to deal with who she really is and what she really looks like because she cannot live with it. She tries to live in her imagination world of ‘glitter’ and ‘darkness’. A world her mind calls home. At the start of the play, Blanche throws a fit when Stella turns on the overhead light and has a good chance to see her.
She exclaims that “Daylight never exposed so total a ruin! “. Blanche does the same thing to Mitch later on. She tells Mitch, “I bought this adorable little coloured paper lantern at a Chinese shop on Bourbon.
Put it over the light bulb! Will you, please? ” This keeps Blanche out of reality for the time being, but towards the end of her fall, she is forced to see reality by Mitch. Mitch shows up later in Scene 9 looking at his worst, reflecting his feelings at that time.
He then shines the light on Blanche where she is forced to see her world – ugly as it may be. Mitch then pulls the lamp away and Blanche becomes unglued. She has been exposed and at the same time enlightened. Blanche’s “magic world away from reality” (Scene 6) was created by her ex-husband. The way he shocked her destroyed her ability to deal with reality for the rest of her life.
In Scene 6, Blanche describes to Mitch about her spouses relations with another man. Evidently, this was a massive shock to her, described as it being “like you suddenly turned a blinding light on something that had always been half a shadow, that’s how it struck the world for me”. After she caught her spouse with another man, he shot himself. She then explains why she hates the light so much – “And then the searchlight which had been turned on the world was turned off again and never for one moment since has there been any light that’s stronger than this-kitchen-candle…
” She has viewed all that she cares to view of the world, and all that she wants the world to view of her. This is Blanche’s “magic world” in which she would like to carry on living. The ‘Varsouviana’ starts and stops playing every so often in this scene and this is relevant to the specific parts of the story Blanche is re-telling. When the shot of Allan is told of, clearly a time of great distress for her, the music stops to show us the deep impact this has had on Miss Dubois. Stanley is Blanche’s counterpart in the text. He is a lewd, vulgar and bawdy philandering machine whom Blanche intimidates.
Her purity front is coming to destroy his impure world. Mr. Kowalski will not let this happen and he does not let it happen. Stanley is always in vivid clothing that is usually green, showing him to be immature and jealous. The situation with Blanche coming to stay with Stella and himself is all a game to him and he thinks that Blanche is there to take over. He will do anything to destroy her. In the introduction to Scene 3, all sorts of clashing loud colours are described as the men play poker. There is yellow linoleum, a vivid green lamp shade, and the men are all wearing green, purple, and red chequered shirts.
These colours would give any sane person a headache and what’s more, they are very obnoxious. As well as indicating the men’s vivid personalities, the chosen shades set the scene in which Stanley is accustomed to be living in. It is his ‘Norm’. Stanley and his friends are much alike due to association in terms of their clothing. They are hostile animal like men who care only about themselves and their masculinity. Stanley’s hatred for Blanche is strongly represented by the colour and lights which are associated with his actions.
There is a white radio presented in Scene 2 which serves almost as a building block for the relationship between Blanche and Mitch. The radio is white, symbolizing its purity and ironically, Stanley throws it out of the window soon after it has been listened to by Blanche and Mitch. This therefore indicates that he does not want anything ‘pure’ in his house as it may be a threat to him, and that he does not want Mitch and Blanche to be together. In Scene 9, Stanley gives Blanche a bus ticket out of town. As he is doing this he puts on his green bowling shirt.
This shirt also symbolizes a domination he has over Blanche and it shows he has power over the situation. The most destructive action by Stanley to Blanche is when he rapes her. At this point the battle is won for him and all is over for Blanche. Stanley is seen here in his most dominating attire yet, “The bathroom door is thrown open and Stanley comes out in the brilliant silk pyjamas (the ones he wore on his wedding night). He grins at her as he knots the tasselled sash around his waist” (Scene 10). The colours, lights, and shadows go crazy as Blanche is taken by Stanley.
This is the straw that broke the camels back as far as Blanche is concerned and the start of Blanche’s end has begun. The end of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ is a sad for one Blanche and to a certain extent Stella. Stanley has already defeated Miss Dubois, and since he has completely dominated the situation, Stella will not believe Blanche’s story of the rape. “Lurid reflections appear on the walls in odd, sinuous shapes” (Scene 11), indicating that Blanche has finally lost it. Stanley and Stella have Blanche sent away to the mental hospital and there is no way for her to fight her way out.
She is defeated. The doctor soothes her defeat and the lighting becomes steady, “As he speaks her name, her terror subsides a little”. All of Blanches torment has now ended and she is taken to a mental institution. However, we may believe that Stella’s is just beginning due to her “luxurious sobbing”. The “swelling music of the ‘Blue piano’ and the muted trumpet” is heard and everything is back to how it was. This ‘return to normality’ encapsulated by Steve saying “The game is seven-card stud” and the curtain drawing.