How does William convey Blanches anxiety in Scene 1 Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 13 July 2017

How does William convey Blanches anxiety in Scene 1

When Blanche arrives in New Orleans, she is already in “shocked disbelief” by looking “at a slip of paper, then at a building, then again at the slip and again at the building”. The use of the adjective “shocked” suggests how surprised Blanche is to see her sister live her, in contrast to where both of them lived before.

Blanche has to come New Orleans as her family fortune and estate are gone; she lost her young husband to suicide years earlier, and from early on the play, we notice she has bad drinking problem by drinking in Stella’s house when she first arrives, which she covers up poorly by saying to herself “I’ve got to keep hold of myself. ” Blanche “washes out” her glass to hide her evidence. From this point, the reader realises she has a drinking problem.

William’s uses a lot of different actions used to show Blanche’s anxiety. She is a dislocated individual from the loss of her husband and family as described her “shoulder slightly hunched and her legs pressed together… and her hands tightly clutching her purse” implies she is in complete dislocation and is shocked at where she is since Blanche comes from a high society and is not used to seeing this lower class society. Furthermore, more actions are used to show Blanche’s unease to this location.

He describes her feelings through the use of actions such as “she springs up”, “she laughs nervously”, “touches her forehead shakily” and “begins to shake again with intensity”. All these actions are fundamental in this scene to convey Blanche’s anxiety as it implies her insecurity and unease in this scene. Other language devices William has used are dynamic, aggressive, or powerful verbs to convey her anxiety. The use of the dynamic verbs “tosses”, “springs” and “rushes” emphasises the way she is feeling and shows her nervous she is.

Springing up when a she hears a cat scream implies how worried and uncomfortable Blanche is. The reader knows Blanche has a drinking problem which is conveyed through the use of the dynamic verbs: “springs up and crosses to it… pours a half tumbler of whisky and tosses it down”, the dynamics verbs ‘springs’ and ‘tosses’ implies how desperate she is to drink. She escapes into drinking rather than facing life as it is. Her manner is dainty and frail, and she sports a wardrobe of showy but cheap evening clothes.

Blanche is very worried and conscious about the way she looks and needs reassurance from the other characters. During the first scene, the reader knows that Blanche doesn’t look nice with over lighting and asks Stella to “turn that off! I won’t be looked at in this merciless glare”. However, he uses light to reflect her likeness to a moth and how her husbands’ death had a great psychological affect on her because she doesn’t want anyone not even her sister to see in the light and she is always grooming herself to make sure she looks pretty.

Blanche pays too much attention to her appearance because she wants to catch men’s eyes. Blanche doesn’t give Stella a chance to speak when they both see each other and is already rude to her by giving her opinion on what a “horrible place” Stella lives in. Majority of Blanche’s sentences are fragmented and also some are repeated which suggests her nervousness. By using ellipses, again it makes Blanche’s sentences fragmented and also long pauses imply her discomfort.

In her long speech to Stella, William has used exclamatory sentences empathising on how serious Blanche is. In that speech, there are many more language devices used to convey her anxiety as she says everything on her mind to Stella. The repetition of “I” and “saw” denotes how upset and dislocated she’s been in the past few years without the help of Stella. Moreover, William uses 1st person pronoun to emphasise what Blanche as gone through then 2nd person to make it clear who Blanche is referring to.

Throughout the scene, semantic field of money, death and distress is used with words like “fortune”, “expensive”, “coffin”, “rattles”, “suffering” and “dreadful” all convey Blanche’s insecurity. Blanche is described by Williams as delicate, sensitive, cultured, and beautiful and has given the impression that one side of Blanche is self-conscious and fragile, but she can also be quite rude and critical. He has achieved this by using the way Blanche moves and speaks “she laughs nervously” and “but you-you’ve put on weight, yes, you’re as plump as a little partridge”.

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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 13 July 2017

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