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MonkeyNotes-A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
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Light is used in an interesting way in the Mitch/Blanche relationship. Blanches shies away from the naked glare of the lightbulb, as if it might reveal the truth of her lurid past. She asks Mitch to fit a paper lantern over it (so she will not feel so vulnerable). Ironically, in this same scene, she deliberately undresses in the light to attract the attention of Mitch. This act illustrates Blanche's willingness to use her body and also prepares the reader for the lurid details about her past that will be revealed as the play progresses.

A further insight into Blanche's character is made when she fabricates her age (making herself younger than her sister Stella) and her reason for visiting Stella (stating she took a leave of absence). Thus, her chronic lying borders on pathology. Also, her constant need to be reassured about her looks reveals her need to feel wanted by people. It also shows her fear of aging; she does not want to "die away" like the old aristocratic South.

Blanche's philosophical remarks about death are an outcome of her own close experiences with dying. She carefully avoids seeing herself as anything but young, thus her vain concern with her appearance and her age. She compares her name to "an orchard in spring"; but "white wood" really carries an image of snow-laden trees. It is a fair symbol of Blanche, the aging widow whose marriage prospects are nearing their autumnal phase; ironically, she sees herself dressed in the blossoms of springtime. Her misreading of the meaning of her name is not so much a deliberate lie as it is a desperate hope that Mitch will fulfill her marriage dreams and make her feel young again.


There is also some development in the interaction between Stanley and Blanche. In the first scene of the play, he ignores her good looks and refuses to compliment her on her appearance. In this scene, he is dazzled by her appearance and seems jealous of her attraction to Mitch. Stanley's increasing interest in Blanche foreshadows his brutal possession of her at the end of the play. Since he cannot have her emotionally, he resorts to taking her physically.

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MonkeyNotes-A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
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