But its traces are not lost. They are hidden away in the compartments of her trunk.
Gillian Anderson unveiled as Blanche DuBois in West End production of A Streetcar Named Desire
She opens the wardrobe trunk, which stands like a small closet in the middle of the room, and takes out a dress for her sister. As Stanley demands information about a lost home, Stella helps Blanche to unpack in her new temporary home. Blanche is not her baggage, but her baggage is Blanche, a transference he instinctively understands as he violates its contents and, by extension, her memories and her body. His language tends toward hyperbole as he rummages through her clothes and jewels. Of course, he is right in some ways, but he is also wrong, for he fails to see that what he identifies as signs of wealth are actually the opposite.
She wants to protect her sister, an instinct that will fade by the end of the play. She understands the material value of the objects to be meager. This distinction is lost on Stanley. He forcefully pushes Stella away—she holds her wrist to indicate that he has hurt her—as he handles the strands of pearls, unable to see that they are just copies of the real thing. Indeed, her last home was a hotel; she was a paying customer. Now she is a guest, robbed of all agency and entirely dependent on her hosts, a dynamic that resonates tragically with her famous last line.
That Stanley has rummaged through her trunk is the first sign that she is not welcome and that he views her as a threat.
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Blanche insists that the clothing and jewelry were gifts from men, establishing the trunk as proof of her own desirability, as well as her status as a lady—virgin, not whore—even without her estate. It is Belle Reve on stage, in debased form, and to Stanley, the papers it contains promise an explanation of what happened to that ideal place.
I hereby endow you with them! But this history with the student is gossip. Stanley learns about it by word of mouth. Like her time at the Hotel Flamingo, it leaves no paper trail. As she contemplates which dress to wear, she worries that her clothing has become crumpled in the trunk, or marked by her mobility.
Streetcar Named Desire: Scene Notes - Scene 11
He expresses sympathy for women and considered them to be victims within this patriarchal society. Ideally, women should be self reliant and be independent from violent men like Stanley. This parallels with the conflict between Stella and Stanley. Stella does acknowledge that Stanley could have raped her sister, but refuses to accept it because of the female dependence on men. Similarly, Blanche is taken away by the doctor.
Even though she was waiting for Shep Huntleigh, she still has proven to be consistently dependent on men. Blanche believes she needs men to keep her fantasies alive just as Stella believes she needs Stanley. Loneliness and the longing for love p. It is true that Blanche has often depended on the kindness of strangers, but all of them have abused and abandoned her. In the end, even her own sister has betrayed her. Her fragility, her inability to fend for herself, and her self-deception has brought her to madness.
For so long, she has known only strangers; first as a young girl in a house full of the dying, and then a woman losing her looks seeking protection from callous men. Therefore as the doctor escorts Blanche out of the house, she sees the kindness in his face. She associates kindness with the end of loneliness. The doctor instills strength in Blanche and does not force her to walk out of the house alone. Through the kindness and companionship of the doctor, she willingly walks out of the house.
In a potential reversal of fortune it may be that the doctor is in fact a stranger who will help Blanche. The Sea.
You know what I shall die of? That unwashed grape has transported her soul to heaven. The sea, due to its shear size, has connotations of grandness and power. This correlates strongly with the motif of death. The sea is truly symbolic as its vastness gives a sense of release for Blanche. But the sea may also reflect the unpredictability of the Kowalski household.
Religious Imagery. The blue of the robe in the old Madonna pictures. Are these grapes washed? The religious imagery has never appeared before in the play. There is a slight irony to have cathedral chimes suddenly be heard in the last scene of the play, especially when so many unpleasant truths have been revealed. Blanche refers to the Kowalski household as a trap on several occasions, but it is in fact Stella who is truly trapped. It is, realistically, very difficult for her to leave him which is why she attempt to deny the possibility of him raping her sister even though it is quite plausible.
The walls of the house sometimes become transparent to enable the audience to look inside. In such a neighbourhood, there is a lack of privacy but it also shows how the outside world is literally just beyond their front door. The tragedy of being trapped in such a household is that freedom is not very far outside and is graspable. But it further demonstrates that Stella is not completely restrained, she has become dependent on Stanley. Blanche Dubois. This awareness has caused the slow degradation of her beauty. The un-human quality goes.
As he speaks her name, her terror subsides a little. The lurid reflections fade from the walls, the inhuman cries and noises die out and her own hoarse crying is calmed. Blanche has suffered considerably in her life, having lost a man who she truly loved as well as her family. Being a woman in the patriarchal society of the s is also another difficulty which she must deal with.
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Blanche tries to cope with her loneliness by sleeping with a number of men, but her promiscuity ruins her image and name and this is a truth which she consistently tries to hide. Her dependence on strangers is a clear indication of her desperation as a human being, being unable to depend on any family. Perhaps, it also illustrates the hardship she suffered with her family; she has been so disillusioned by her family that she would rather find comfort in the presence of strangers.
It should also be noted that the strangers whom Blanche refers to are all men. This again, reflects the female reliance on men during the time. Stanley Kowalski. Now, love. Now, now love. Now, love…. Although Stanley seemed to be much down to earth and level headed than Blanche in the beginning of the play, we are left with an unfavourable impression of him.
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He is animal-like and crude and is the general personification of male dominance in society. The repetition of endearments seem to be an over compensation for what he did, but again, we see Stanley is taking advantage of Stella in her vulnerable state, just as he did with Blanche in scene Stanley Kowalski is an exaggeration of humans in our most exposed, animal-like form, there seems to be excessiveness in every aspect of him; his passion, sexual drive, assertiveness, and aggressiveness. Williams clearly points out the imperfections of both worlds. Life has got to go on.
Blanche DuBois: A Tragic Character Lost in an Ocean as Blue as Her First Lover's Eyes
These two characters very much reflect the theme of female reliance on men during the s. Williams portrayed women generally as the victims of this patriarchal society. Perhaps, the audience is meant to feel some sympathy for Stella who really has little choice but to stay with her husband and the father of her newborn child. Here, she does not deny what Blanche has said, but instead, insists that Stella move on. She not only weeps for the loss of her sister, but also for being trapped within the Kowalski household with a man who may have raped her sister.
Relation of Part to Whole:. This scene is perhaps one of the most important scenes of the play. Major themes are reemphasised as well as motifs which help illustrate such themes. It may be interpreted that Williams is criticizing human nature.