A Streetcar Named Desire Essay
A Streetcar Named Desire
•Blanche is halfway through writing a letter full of lies, describing a jet-set lifestyle with Shep Huntley, her wealthy friend.
•Meanwhile, upstairs Eunice and Steve are fighting. Eunice rushes out of the apartment saying she is going to call the police. Stanley comes home, in bowling clothes. Steve comes down with a bruise on his forehead; Stanley tells Steve that Eunice has gone to a neighbourhood bar and Steve rushes out to find her.
•Stanley then questions Blanche. He says that he has a friend in Laurel who claims that Blanche was a guest at a disreputable hotel named ‘The Flamingo’, Blanche denies the claims and Stanley leaves. Steve and Eunice return, Eunice sobbing and Steve trying to make it up to her.
•Blanche is shaken. She asks if Stella has heard any rumours about her; Stella is perplexed by Blanche’s behaviour. Blanche admits that she “wasn’t so good” during the last couple of years; she sought comfort with men. She insinuates that she was sexually intimate with these men, but Stella has stopped listening because Blanche begins to become so morbid. Blanche is clearly on edge at this point.
•Stella fixes Blanche a drink. Blanche gushes with emotion and affection for Stella; Stella is embarrassed by Blanche’s sentimentality.
•Stella and Blanche talk about Mitch. Blanche will be going out with him later that night. Blanche is quite taken with him. She hopes that their relationship can go somewhere. Stella leaves for an outing with Stanley. Eunice bounds out of the apartment, shrieking with laughter and Steve chases after her.
•A young man comes to collect for the paper. Blanche flirts with him with shocking forwardness. The young man, a boy probably not out of his teens, seems nervous and excited at the same time; finally she kisses him, and then sends him on his way.
•Mitch comes with a dozen roses, and Blanche accepts them, but mocking him at the same time.
Scene 5 Analysis
•The theme of illusion runs through this scene, and we begin to see how the past is catching up with Blanche. Stanley is learning of her past, and her old desires are coming back to haunt her. •We watch Blanche fabricate a series of lies in her telegraph to Shep Huntley. She has no uncertainties; the truth is less interesting than the illusion she offers, so why not? •Blanche is not the only character with some fears of truth. When she confesses to Stella about her behaviour in Laurel, Stella stops listening – whenever Blanche is morbid; this convenient ability to block out the truth foreshadows Stella’s betrayal of Blanche at the end of the play.
•Dramatic tension created around a conflict between Stanley and Blanche – she recognises his entrance with nervous glances. •Blanche’s star sign is ironic – Virgo meaning ‘the virgin’… Does she want to reclaim her virginity and create a new life for herself? •Stanley’s star sign is Capricorn, known as ‘the ram’… Goats are supposed to be promiscuous and stubborn. He is both. Capricorn and Virgo are opposites – they either conflict or do opposites attract?
•Stanley mentions his friend Shaw, and the tension escalates. This shows that he has been investigating Blanche. •Blanches illusions are quite fragile. Stanley upsets her by hinting that he knows the truth. She is rendered vulnerable by his attack; her lies have now isolated her. •Stanley has the last word – ‘clear up a mistake’ – he threatens to get proof and reveal the truth, leaving Blanche in panic. She starts making excuses and makes Stella suspicious. •Pathetic fallacy – thunder is foreboding for Blanche.
•Afterward she gushes with emotion for Stella. The theme of loneliness, central to the play, is rendered skilfully in this scene. Stella is uncomfortable with these displays of emotion; – they make her feel guilty because Stella is all that Blanche has in the world, and Stella herself has Stanley. •The soda spilling and foaming out the bottle is a metaphor for Blanche- it stains her white shirt, just as her purity is stained and how her past is irremovable, like the stain. It also represents her emotions spilling over, how she herself is out of control, and the way that the truth will spill out. •The local couples provide a contrast to Blanche’s less healthy outlets for her desires.
•Steve and Eunice put Blanches fantasies into perspective – whilst she fabricates a life of cocktails and luncheons, they are a reality check. •Blanche cannot seem to recover from the convulsions of desire. She denounced the physicality of Stanley and Stella’s relationship, but suffers from a terrible loneliness, from which she seeks to escape in appropriate ways. Her advances at the young man are the first direct sign in the play, that she occasionally seeks desperate remedies for her loneliness. Blanche has been the lone observer of two happy couples: Stella and Stanley, Steve and Eunice. Left alone in the apartment, she seeks some connection with the first person she sees.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 16 February 2017
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