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I think she does not want the light on her because it is exposing the truth. In the following stage direction when she wants to have another tumbler of whiskey, you can see that she is very nervous, hysterical – mentally unstable: [She rushes to the closet and removes the bottle; she is shaking all over and panting for breath as she tries to laugh. The bottle nearly slips from her grasp. ] She lies to her sister when she seeks the bottle of whiskey, because she knows where it is. As Blanche speaks, she reveals her unsettled emotional state.
In just a brief dialogue with her sister, Blanche expresses affection, shock, modesty, concern for Stella, vanity, resentment and uncertainty about herself. While almost every sentence reveals another dimension of Blanche’s inner turbulence, the dialogue also illustrates the relationship between the sisters. She treats Stella in a patronising way and is domineering. Stella says in the text to Blanche: “You never did give me a chance to say much, Blanche. So I just got in the habit of being quiet around you. ” In the first scene, we get to know that Blanche works as a teacher.
She explains that she has suffered a nervous breakdown and has therefore taken a leave from her teaching job in the middle of the term. Here she presented as the burnt out teacher, but you can notice that she is lying when she says that to her sister, because of her strange behaviour: [Nervously tamping cigarette], [She drinks quickly. ] These actions are meant to cover up this lie. She is dishonest. The truth is that she had sex with a 17-year-old boy of her class, but that is not revealed in this scene. Blanche then disparages Stella’s messy apartment. She cannot believe that she has only two rooms.
Blanche wants to maintain her Southern way of life and behaves like this. Also she reproaches Stella for gaining so much weight. Blanche does not know that she is pregnant. Blanche comes across as a frivolous, hysterical, insensitive, and self-obsessed individual as she derides her sister’s lesser social status. In the following quotation you can see again that Blanche is very bossy and plays the big, domineering sister: “You hear me? I said stand up! You messy child, you, you’ve spilt something on that pretty white lace collar! About your hair- you ought to have it cut in a feather bob with your dainty features…
” On the other hand Blanche wants to be ensured that she is looking very well. She is fishing for compliments: “I want you to look at my figure! [She turns around. ] You know I haven’t put on one ounce in ten years, Stella? … ” You can see that Blanche has lots of thoughts about the way she looks like. She recognizes that she is getting older. “You see I still have that awful vanity about my looks even now that my looks are slipping! ” In my opinion, that is also a reason, why she does not want to be seen in the light. Now there is a point in scene one where you are informed about Blanche’s loneliness.
She tells Stella the following: “I want to be near by you, got to be with somebody, I can’t be alone! Because – as you must have noticed – I’m not very well. … ” This quotation shows aswell that she is aware of her mental state. Stella notices that she is nervous and overwrought. Blanche worries about whether Stanley will like her but also she does not speak well about him. He is not the type of man she is accustomed to. I think Stella already knows that Stanley and Blanche are not going to get along. They come from two different worlds. Blanche is posh and a descendant of a rich, aristocratic family.
He is not the type of man they went out with at home, because of “his civilian background”. Blanche now turns the conversation to news of their home. She tries to tell Stella that Belle Reve is lost. Therefore she uses a very dramatic and emotional language. She has frightened of Stella as she could be reproaching her for this. The entire burden descended on Blanche’s shoulders, because Stella left Belle Reve after the death of their father. Blanche has suffered trough the deaths of all her relatives, save Stella, and the loss of her home and old way of life. “I, I, I took the blows in my face and my body!
All of those deaths! The long parade to the graveyard! Father, mother! Margaret, that dreadful way! ” Every death had to be paid for with a little piece of Belle Reve, and gradually the place just slipped away through Blanche’s fingers. More shocked than angry, Stella says nothing. Blanche thinks that Stella doubts the story and cruelly lashes out at her sister: “Yes, accuse me! Sit there and stare at me, thinking I let the place go! I let the place go? Where were you. In bed with your – Polack! ” Blanche’s attack on Stella suggests the intensity of her feelings about the loss.
On the other hand, she could be covering up the facts, possibly to protect herself, possibly because she can’t face the truth. Unable to accept responsibility, she may be casting blame on the dead people in her family and ultimately on her little sister, all characters, take note, without the capacity to defend themselves. Blanch has suffered terribly. Loneliness and desire are integral to her being. She chose the harsh road of staying at Belle Reve to care for the dying, and she has suffered because of it. For many years, she was a delicate young woman who lived alone in house full of the terminally ill.
When Stella runs to the bathroom in tears, Stanley returns from bowling. This is the first encounter between him and Blanche. He asks her a lot of questions. Finally, when Stanley asks her about her marriage, Blanche cannot talk about it with him. The only thing she said: “The boy – the boy died. [She sinks back down. ] I’m afraid I’m – going to be sick! [Her head falls on her arms. ]” It seems that the subject is too painful for her or that she has something to hide. But at this point we know that she was married. She must have been very young, because she is talking of a boy. It is a very dramatic ending.