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MonkeyNotes-A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
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Scene 6

Summary

At about two a.m., Mitch and Blanche return from a dull evening at the amusement park. Blanche blames herself for not being more entertaining for Mitch. As she scans the starry night sky, for the Seven Sisters in particular, Mitch asks if he can kiss her. When Blanche replies that he may be used to girls who give themselves freely but that she is different, Mitch tells her to stay the way she is because "in all my experience - I have never known any one like you". For him, Blanche is a goddess who has climbed down from above to show interest in him.

Blanche invites Mitch in for a drink. She lights a candle and begins to speak in French. She calls herself the lady of the camellias. Mitch tells her that he does not understand French. Blanche asks him, again in French, if he would like to sleep with her, then reverts to English to say that it is good that he doesn't understand the language. When she asks him to take off his coat, he is ashamed because he perspires a lot. They talk about his physique and about his weight. When he embraces her, she asks him to behave like a gentleman. He tells her to slap him if he steps out of bounds. She tells him that she is Victorian in her thinking (obviously a lie). When Mitch suggests that they should go out with the Kowalskis, Blanche turns down the idea since Stanley is downright rude to her. In fact, she feels Stanley hates her and would like to destroy her. She says she would not have endured his company, but for the fact that Stella is to have a baby and she herself has no savings. Mitch consoles Blanche by saying that Stanley probably does not understand her.

Mitch suddenly asks Blanche her age. When she asks him the reason for the unexpected question, his answer kindles some hope in her mind. He has been speaking about Blanche to his mother, and the latter wants to know her age. Blanche avoids answering the question by asking him further about his mother. Blanche realizes that Mitch is deeply attached to his mother and will be lonely after her death if he is not married. He is obviously capable of great devotion, which is precisely what Blanche wants. She explains to Mitch how love and devotion were missing from her first marriage. She had fallen in love with a gentle boy at age sixteen, and they had eloped. He had sought her as an escape, but she had not really known or understood him; she realized what he was when she chanced upon him unawares with another man. Pretending that nothing had been discovered, the trio went to Moon Lake Casino and had lots of drinks. Unable to control herself, Blanche had expressed her disgust of his behavior. He had reacted by going out and firing a revolver into his mouth.

After hearing her story, Mitch draws Blanche slowly into his arms, speaks of their mutual need for each other, and suggests that they both have a chance together. With a soft cry she huddles in his embrace. He kisses her, and she tries to forget her past.


Notes

Halfway through the play, the dramatist brings Blanche closer to the fulfillment of the hope she has begun to nurture - marriage to Mitch. Only two characters are present in this entire scene, and for most of it, Blanche and Mitch sit and talk in darkness, symbolic of Blanche's moral darkness and Mitch's being in the dark about Blanche's true nature.

Blanche is a complex mix, an innocent girl, "a lady of the camellias" turned to womanhood by the suicide of her young, immoral husband; in response, Blanche herself begins to live an immoral life. Now, however, she wants find an anchor in life. She clings to Mitch, despite his lack of class, because she believes he will provide her with security and faithfulness.

Blanche's aversion to bright lights is explained in this scene. Her first love was like a "blinding light;" after her beloved's death, she has been unable to stand a light stronger than a kitchen candle. But also Blanche does not want to be in the bright light of scrutiny. She already fears that Stanley is suspicious about her past; and she desperately needs to hide her past from Mitch, who thinks she is pure and innocent.

The stage direction about playing a Varsouviana as the background music explains itself when Blanche states that they had been dancing the Varsouviana when her husband shot himself. Now whenever she hears that piece played, she becomes nervous and often drinks until she hears the gunshot in her head.

In this scene, Mitch emerges as a simpleton in believing Blanche's pretense of modesty. When he asks to kiss her, she lies and says she does not give herself freely. Once inside, she asks him in French, which he cannot understand, if he would like to sleep with her. For him, however, she is more than he has ever hoped for, an impossible dream come true; she is a veritable goddess who has condescended to take serious interest in him. In truth, they are probably suited for one another and could help each other out of their terribly lonely existences.

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