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Blanche DuBois Scene 1


Character study of Blanche DuBois in scene 1 of Tennessee Williams' 'A Streetcar Named Desire'
Rosa Scott
Mind Map by Rosa Scott, updated more than 1 year ago
Rosa Scott
Created by Rosa Scott over 3 years ago

Resource summary

Blanche DuBois Scene 1
  1. Relationships
    1. She is rude to Stella and refers to her home as a “horrible place”, showing her arrogance and disinterest in the things that make her sister happy.
      1. She accuses Stella of abandoning her at Belle Reve, “you are the one that abandoned Belle Reve, not I!” She is over dramatic in how she describes how she lost Belle Reve, “[slowly]: The loss – the loss…” She rants at Stella about what a tough time she’s had paying for all the funerals of their relatives and that’d why she had to sell Belle Reve. She continues to blame Stella and claim that Stella is accusing her when she is ranting so much that Stella cannot get a single word in. “I let the place go? Where were you? In bed with your – Polak!” She has an extremely accusatory tone.
        1. Blanche chats to Stanley when he comes in and does not mind when he removes his shirt. When he asks her about her previous marriage, she suddenly feels very sick. “the boy – the boy died… I’m afraid I’m – going to be sick!”
        2. Situation
          1. Blanche is Stella’s sister and she has come to stay with her on Elysian Fields after losing their family home Belle Reve. She was a teacher and was once married but her husband died. She worked in a school but the superintendent “suggested I take a leave of absence” because she was so nervous that she couldn’t work.
            1. “Blanche comes around the corner carrying a valise.” The language here shows her wealthy and sophisticated background as she carries a valise rather than a simple suitcase.
              1. “Her expression is one of shocked disbelief” She is horrified that her sister is living in such a poor location after she is used to the luxurious life of Belle Reve. “Blanche sits in a chair very stiffly” She is uncomfortable sitting in Stella’s home as she is used to living in luxury and not in poor conditions.
                1. Blanche stands out compared to Elysian Fields: “Her appearance is incongruous to this setting.” Stella lives in a poor, rough area but Blanche is dressed very glamorously which is another indication that she has not experienced life outside of her wealthy upbringing.
                  1. “She springs up and crosses to it, and removes a whisky bottle… she tosses it down.” She perks up when she sees alcohol. She drinks quickly which shows she is used to strong taste of whiskey which suggests that she is a regular drinker. She also drinks in secret which could imply that she has a drinking problem. “Open your pretty mouth and talk while I look for some liquor!” although she just drank she is looking for it as if she doesn’t know it’s there, pretending she is not a regular drinker. “your sister hasn’t turned into a drunkard!” ironically, she acts as if she does not drink often and just needs it to calm her nerves.
                  2. Personality
                    1. As she ages, her beauty begins to fade, and Blanche does not wish to be seen in bright light which will show this. “Her delicate beauty must avoid a strong light” “I won’t be looked at in this merciless glare!” Blanche only appears when the lighting is dark. Her beauty is her most prized possession and she is constantly expecting compliments from Stella. She criticises Stella for her weight “you’re plump as a little partridge!” and then she says, “I want you to look at my figure!” as she flaunts her own body and is encouraging Stella to compliment her, showing her selfish and critical personality.
                      1. “there is something about her uncertain manner, as well as her white clothes, that suggests a moth.”
                        1. “I’m looking for my sister, Stella DuBois. I mean – Mrs Stanley Kowalski” Because of her sophisticated upbringing, she holds traditional views and refers to Stella as the property of her husband.
                          1. “she is shaking all over and panting for breath as she tries to laugh” she is nervous and needs to drink to calm her nerves. She is uncomfortable in the poor setting of Stella’s mere two room flat compared to Belle Reve.
                            1. The stage directions often describe Blanche as, “frightened”, showing her nerves and how she is anxious about many things such as what Stanley will think of her.
                            2. Attitude
                              1. Blanche continues to insult Elysian Fields by claiming that only Edgar Allan Poe could truly explain its appearance. “Only Mr Edgar Allan Poe! – could do it justice! Out there I suppose is the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir!” Poe is associated with dark aspects of literature which, combined with the language creates the image of Elysian Fields being a terrifying and threatening place through the eyes of Blanche.
                                1. “Yes. [wanting to get rid of her.] Thanks for letting me in.” She is blunt and rude to Eunice after she helps Blanche and tries to speak to her.
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