Scene 9 analysis

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SCENE 9
Leann Lew
Blanche’s State of Mind
Before Mitch arrives
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“A while later that evening”
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It is very dark, Blanche’s situation is reflected in the lighting
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This is after all her secrets have been revealed, her situation has no hope
“a tense hunched position”
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Nervous
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Tense: a position of rigidness she knows there is a change, she is no longer as suave as she usually is
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Hunched: a position of defeat, she has accepted defeat already, before Mitch has even rejected her
“scarlet satin robe”
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Element of delusional: is still a sign of passion and desire
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Despite her ‘defeat’, she still wishes to seduce
“The rapid, ferverish polka tune, the ‘Varsouviana’, is heard”
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The past is mixing with the present: her past has been revealed
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Her past is affecting her present because it influences how the people in her ‘present’ view her
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Mitch (who is her present) is about to reject her for her past
“The music is in her mind” – a sign of insanity. There has been too much mixing of the past and present that she is going insane
“she is drinking to escape it and the sense of disaster closing in on her”
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Hopes drinking will be the cure
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Sense of disaster: foreboding to the next few scenes
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Disaster #1: Mitch’s rejection
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Disaster #2: Blanche’s rape by Stanley
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Disaster #3: gets taken to an asylum
Closing in on her: she is trapped. She is trying to escape her past (by drinking) but it is ultimately what psychologically traps her
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Mitch rejects her because of her past and this is what breaks her
After Mitch Arrives
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“hiding the bottle in a closet”/“dabbing her face with
cologne and powder”
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“So utterly uncavalier!”
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Contrast to Mitch – Mitch is unruly, she is done up
She is still hiding: putting up a pretence/mask
 Dramatic irony because he already knows who she really is
“She is so excited that her breath is audible as she dashes about”
Still thinks there is hope
Still putting up a Southern Belle front
Still treating Mitch as a gentleman
Doesn’t realise the change in their relationship
“She offers him her lips.”
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Believes the romance is still alive
Mitch Rejects her kiss
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“She looks fearfully”
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“The unforgivable insult to a lady!”
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Still a Southern Belle
“No, of course you haven’t, you dumb angel-puss, you’d never get anything awful caught in your
head.”
She still mocks him, treats him as if he is of lower class
“He stares at her while she follow him while she talks” – he is unfazed by her show, he knows her
true self
 “It is obvious that he has had a few drinks on the way over” – they are on the same
standing. They are both drunk, he is not lower than her
Mitch is slowly reintroducing her to reality
“The polka tune starts up again”
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She now fears Mitch, whom she used to believe was below her
The past is coming back, Blanche can’t handle the reality so the past is coming back
A sign of insanity, the more in touch with reality she gets, the more the past comes back and
drives her insane
“A distant revolver is heard, Blanche seems relieved.”
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Revolver: an allusion to death
Blanche is comforted by death
“The polka music dies out again”
 ‘dies out’
 Death drives away the painful memories, her psychological death drives away her painful
memories to the point she only lives in the ones she deems desirable
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“pretending to search for the bottle”…”She pretends to find the bottle”
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“We’ve has so much excitement here this evening that I am boxed out of my
mind!”
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Pause = dramatization, euphemism or lie
Trying to make herself seem important, like she has made the apartment into a place fit for a
Southern Belle
“Why, it’s a liquer, I believe!”
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Rejecting the idea of insanity
“This room is almost – dainty!”
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Pretence again – pretending, she is still putting up a mask
Italicisation: dramatizing it, she believes it’s too high class for him to understand, that’s why she
emphasises it
“What a fantastic statement! Fantastic of him to say it, fantastic of you to
repeat it!”
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Repetition of “fantastic”: sarcastic
“I won’t descend to the level of such cheap accusations to answer them, even!” – dramatic irony,
the whole audience knows she is lying.
Light and Dark
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“I like it dark. The dark is comforting to me.”
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She is hiding her true self (not only her face but her past)
Darkness can be synonymous to death
Darkness = no hope, by hiding in the dark she is actually her own undoing
“[fearfully]: Light? Which light? What for?”
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Panicking
She is scared of the light and the truth – REALITY
“I don’t want realism”
“I’ll tell you what I want. Magic!” – magic is fantasy
 Blanche would rather live in fantasy of what “ought to be the truth” rather
than the actual truth
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“Don’t turn the light on!”…”He turns the light on and stares at her.
She cries out and covers her face”
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Almost as if the light is physically hurting her
Mitch Reveals he knows the truth
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“Who told you I wasn’t – ‘straight’?”
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“Rub-a-dub-dub, three men in a tub! And such a filthy tub!”
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Childish – she can’t handle the truth so she results to childishness, contrast to her sophisticated
language
Blanche is always the one in the bathroom – trying to cleanse herself
 Contrast to the “filthy tub”
“hunting for some protection – here and there, in the most – unlikely place”
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Another pause
A sign of panic – beginning to realise Mitch knows the truth
Pauses – euphemisms
Using language to try and make her situation seem more glamorous – that she is not in the
wrong
“She throws back her head with convulsive, sobbing laughter. Then she repeats
the statement, gasps, and drinks”
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Hysterical
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“Sobbing laughter” – oxymoron, dichotomy, sign of insanity.
Repeats her statement – trying to convince herself, she is not even trying to convince Mitch
anymore
Drinking for comfort – she cover is broken. She can’t hide her need for alcohol
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“My youth was suddenly gone up the water-spout”
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Reminiscent of the children’s rhyme ‘Incy Wincy Spider’
Childish – contrast to what she is saying. She is saying
something childish but is talking about aging.
“Paradise”
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Greek mythology: allusion to Elysian fields
General: allusion to heaven
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Must go through death to get there
Talking about Death positively
“is a little peace” – peace in death
“Don’t say I lied to you.”
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Running from the truth, doesn’t want it said outright
Flores para los muertos
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“She is a blind Mexican woman in a dark shawl, carrying bunches of
those gaudy tin flowers that lower-class Mexicans display at funerals
and other festive occasions.”
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“Flores para los muertos”
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“Flowers for the dead”
“The polka tune fades in”
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Blind: death is blind, appearance doesn’t matter.
Dark shawl: darkness is draped around her, much like Blanche is always shrouded
in darkness
Gaudy: bright and showy but also tasteless, Blanche is often dressed like this, in
showy dresses that can be over the top
Lower-class: death does not discriminate against the classes, class is materialistic
Funerals: symbol of death
Atmosphere of death = past coming back
Blanche’s past is full of death
“as if to herself”
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The past is coming back and making her go insane again – talking to herself
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“Corones para los muertos”
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“Wreaths for the death”
An arrangement of flowers
Wreaths are presented on graves of warriors or people lost at sea
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“Death – I used to sit here and she used to sit over there and death was as close as you are”
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Death: dramatization of death, made to seem very important
Personification of death, as if it is a person sitting near Blanche
“The opposite is desire.”
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Blanche, later in the play, says she wants to die at sea
Blanche travels from death to desire to death again
Justifying her turn to sex – she was so surrounded by death that she needed
to go to the opposite which was desire
“The Mexican woman turns slowly and drifts back off with her soft mournful cries”
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Soft mournful cries: as if someone has died
Blanche’s psyche has died
Mitch trying to sleep with Blanche
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“The polka music fades away”
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Past is fading away, desire is leaving
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She is coming back to reality – the reality that Mitch doesn’t want her anymore he only
wants to sleep with her
“Her throat is tightening with hysteria”
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Craziness
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This is the final rejection before she goes almost completely insane
“She suddenly rushes to the big window with its pale blue square of the soft summer light and
cries wildly”
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Blue: colour of sexuality, like the blue piano
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Soft summer light: a gentle light, reminiscent of life and hope
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Juxtaposition of “soft summer light” and “cries wildly”: represents Blanche’s insanity, she
is a walking contradiction
“Blanche staggers back from the window and falls to her knees”
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Falls to her knees: position of defeat
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Blanche’s psyche has been defeated
“The distant piano is slow and blue”
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Sensuality/sexuality: foreboding of the next scene where Blanche gets raped
Mitch and Blanche’s
relationship
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“in work clothes”
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“blue denim shirt and pants. He is unshaven.”
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He is not dressed for a date or to impress Blanche
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Unshaven: he is unruly and doesn’t care for his appearance
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Contrast to Blanche whom cares endlessly about how she looks
Their relationship has changed: it is not romantic anymore, Mitch doesn’t want her now
that he knows her past
“The polka tune stops”
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Love is dead: there is no mood
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The past is no longer mixing with the present – Mitch is here to make her face reality, she
can’t hide in the past
“She offers him her lips”
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A very physical show of affection – their relationship was quite physical
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There was no real emotional attachment
“He ignores it and pushes past her into the flat. She looks fearfully after him as he stalks into
the bedroom.”
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Pushes: a show of violence
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Stalks: animalistic, angry, forceful
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Reminiscent of Stanley, forcing women around
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This is why she looks at him “fearfully”, the same way she views Stanley
“I don’t like fans.”/“Then let’s turn it off, honey.”
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Blanche is doing what he wishes
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Role reversal, he is in a position of power
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“She clears her throats uneasily as Mitch plumps himself down on the bed in the bedroom and lights a cigarette”
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On the bed, in the bedroom: place of sex
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Very, very reminiscent of Stanley
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Where Blanche is ultimately raped
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Plumps: setting down heavily or unceremoniously, without a care as if he owns the bed
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Smoking a cigarette, just like Stanley
Uneasily: she is worried and anxious because she is in a place of sex with a man that has power
“How is your mother? Isn’t your mother well?”/“Why?”
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Mitch has control over the conversation
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Blanche is the one trying to get the conversation going
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Reminiscent of their date in scene 6 except with the roles reversed
“I wasn’t going to see you any more.”/“Wait a minute. I can’t hear what you’re saying and you talk so little that
when you do say something, I don’t want to miss a single syllable of it.”
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Pretending – she is rejecting the idea of him rejecting her
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Flatters him – hoping he will not actually reject her
“Mitch laughs”
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Mitch ridicules her now that he knows who she is
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Before it was Blanche mocking Mitch, now Mitch mocks her insanity
“Mitch rises and follows her purposefully.”
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He has a purpose – to have sex with her
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Much like Stanley in the next scene whom purposefully wants to rape her
“Mitch turns and goes out of the outer door, clatters awkwardly down the steps and around the corner of the
building.”
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Awkward: he’s drunk. Much like their first date where they were both terribly awkward
Interesting to note:
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“Southern Comfort!”
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The alcohol Blanche finds and offers Mitch
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Synonymous to the South
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Made with whiskey (the alcohol Stanley drinks)
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Strong
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Comfort in alcohol
“He says you been lapping it up all summer like a wild-cat!”
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Animalistic
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An animal that stalks and hunts
Wild cat = tiger: what Stanley calls her in the next scene before he rapes
her
“The Flamingo”
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A showy bird
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Is not naturally pink – Blanche is always putting up a mask
“The Tarantula Arms”
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They hunt and bring back their prey to their den
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“hunting for some protection” – the Tarantula (Blanche) hunts for
psychological protection
STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE
Scene 10
Setting/Opening
“It is a few hours later that night. Blanche has been drinking fairly steadily since Mitch left. She has
dragged her wardrobe trunk into the center of the bedroom. It hangs open with flowery dresses
thrown across it. As the drinking and packing went on, a mood of hysterical exhilaration came into
her and she has decked herself out in a somewhat soiled and crumpled white satin evening gown
and a pair of scuffed silver slippers with brilliants set in their heels. Now she is placing the
rhinestone tiara on her head before the mirror of the dressing-table and murmuring excitedly as if
to a group of spectral admirers.”
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Trunk in the middle of the room, she is the centre of attention and has taken over the space
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The dress that she puts on herself is white, the colour of purity, but it is ‘soiled’ & ‘crumpled’
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She is wearing a costume: the heels and the tiara and the gown
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She is attempting to be the wholesome pure person she was but it is too late
The rhinestones are fake, the slippers are scuffed: it is an old costume meant for a
performance
She is living in her dream world, completely removed from reality
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She has made up this group of ‘spectral admirers’ to perform for in her crumpled costume
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Spectral can also imply a ghost. She is in the dream world of her past, before her dreams
and literally people she knew were dead
Power Struggle
“BLANCHE: Close the curtains before you undress any further.
STANLEY [amiably]: This is all I'm going to undress right now. [He rips the sack off a quart beer
bottle] Seen a bottle opener?
[She moves slowly toward the dresser, where she stands with her hands knotted together.]
I used to have a cousin who could open a beer bottle with his teeth.[Pounding the bottle cap on the
corner of table]…”
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Blanche is attempting to create the divide between them, However Stanley has all of the power
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This highlights the power struggle between the two characters and that by this point in the
play, Blanche has lost almost all power
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The stage direction ‘amiably’ is ironic as Stanley’s intentions are anything but kind or friendly
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Every one of Stanley’s actions are violent and dominant
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‘Open a beer bottle with his teeth’
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‘rips’ & ‘pounding’ are harsh, violent and active words
Animalistic, savage, violent. Binary opposite to what blanche is (wants to be)
All of the violent imagery also foreshadows the violent events that are to come
The Reveal - Quote
STANLEY: And look at yourself! Take a look at yourself in that worn-out Mardi
Gras outfit, rented for fifty cents from some rag-picker! And with the crazy
crown on! What queen do you think you are?
BLANCHE: Oh--God...
STANLEY: I've been on to you from the start! Not once did you pull any wool
over this boy's eyes! You come in here and sprinkle the place with powder and
spray perfume and cover the light bulb with a paper lantern, and lo and
behold the place has turned into Egypt and you are the Queen of the Nile!
Sitting on your throne and swilling down my liquor! I say--Ha!--Ha! Do you hear
me? Ha--ha--ha![He walks into the bedroom.]
BLANCHE: Don't come in here!
[Lurid reflections appear on the wall around Blanche. The shadows are of a
grotesque and menacing form. She catches her breath, crosses to the phone and
jiggles the hook. Stanley goes into the bathroom and closes the door.]
The Reveal - Explanation
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Stanley is finally calling blanche out on all of her lies
 He has been the only one to see through her all this time and it is all being revealed
‘Mardi Gras’ implies cheapness & costume
 It has all been a performance and lies, Stan is taking this imagined life away from Blanche
Stan is mocking Blanche
 ‘Queen of the Nile’ – opulence, royalty, she’s always trying to seem exotic
 Also accusational tone, ‘my liquor’
Blanche cannot handle that her dream world had been shattered
 She retreats further away from reality as a result, hides her own mind from the truth of the
situation
Shadows foreshadows what is to come
 ‘grotesque menacing form’ – animalistic, as if hunting Blanche
 This is what Stan is about to do
Stanley finally goes into what has mostly been her domain – the bathroom
 Ironically a place of cleansing, foreshadowing
 She has lost all power and control
Stage Directions - Quote
“[She sets the phone down and crosses warily into the kitchen. The night
is filled with inhuman voices like cries in a jungle.
The shadows and lurid reflections move sinuously as flames along the
wall spaces.
Through the back wall of the rooms, which have become transparent,
can be seen the sidewalk. A prostitute has rolled a drunkard. He
pursues her along the walk, overtakes her and there is a struggle. A
policeman's whistle breaks it up. The figures disappear.
Some moments later the Negro Woman appears around the corner with
a sequined bag which the prostitute had dropped on the walk. She is
rooting excitedly through it.
Blanche presses her knuckles to her lips and returns slowly to the phone.
She speaks in a hoarse whisper.]”
Stage Direction - Explanation
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‘inhuman voices…cries in the jungle’
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‘sinuously as flames’ – fire, heat
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Animalistic imagery & symbolism
She is beginning to lose her mind
The heat and tension of the scene
Also burning, her dream world is burnt up, destroyed
Prostitute and the Man symbolise/Mirror Blanche & Stanley
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She is promiscuous and has been attempting to fool Mitch/Stan this entire time, He has
caught on and will attack
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The policeman’s whistle breaks it up
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Cycle of stealing and prostitution
Negro woman previously mirrored Blanche
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She is left to rummage through the aftermath of the struggle
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Foreshadowing – for Blanche, no one will break up their struggle
Foreshadowing: Blanche is left to pick up the pieces of her mind after their struggle
She sees her ‘future’, is nervous and on the brink of madness
Stage Directions - Quote
[The bathroom door is thrown open and Stanley comes out in the
brilliant silk pyjamas. He grins at her as he knots the tasseled sash
about his waist. She gasps and backs away from the phone. He stares
at her for a count of ten. Then a clicking becomes audible from the
telephone, steady and rasping.]
STANLEY: You left th' phone off th' hook.
[He crosses to it deliberately and sets it back on the hook. After he has
replaced it, he stares at her again, his mouth slowly curving into a grin,
as he waits between Blanche and the outer door.
The barely audible "blue piano" begins to drum up louder. The sound
of it turns into the roar of an approaching locomotive. Blanche
crouches, pressing her fists to her ears until it has gone by.]
Stage Directions – Explanation
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Stanley is violent and dominant
 ‘thrown’ loud, harsh language
 ‘brilliant silk pyjamas’
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‘grins’ he has won and he knows it, he is in control
 ‘stares at her for count of ten’ long, drawn out. Creates immense tension on stage
 Audience knows the climax of the play is coming
 His dialogue, colloquial yet dominant
 He then proceeds to ‘hunt her’
 Animalistic, dominant
 Exerting his power & control
 He cuts off her exit
‘blue piano’ – foreshadows the events, also highlights sexual tension between characters
 Becomes the sound of the locomotive
 The music that symbolises sex becomes the sound of her past converging on her present
 Massive foreshadowing
 She can’t cope with the train noise: she can’t handle her past coming to light, she is in turmoil
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Luxurious, ironic as this is what blanche wanted to be
Foreshadowing
The Ending Pt 1
STANLEY: You think I'll interfere with you? Ha-ha!
[The "blue piano" goes softly. She turns confusedly and makes a faint gesture.
The inhuman jungle voices rise up. He takes a step toward her, biting his tongue
which protrudes between his lips.]
STANLEY [softly]: Come to think of it--maybe you wouldn't be bad to--interfere
with....
[Blanche moves backward through the door into the bedroom.]
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‘interfere’ sounds almost criminal
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‘blue piano’ symbolises sex, foreshadowing
‘inhuman voices’ animalistic
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Jargon not usually applicable to what he is actually talking about
He is hunting her
Stanley has all of the power, he is playing with her
The Ending Pt 2
[He springs toward her, overturning the table. She cries out and strikes at him with the bottle top
but he catches her wrist.]
Tiger--tiger! Drop the bottle top! Drop it! We've had this date with each other from the beginning!
[She moans. The bottle top falls. She sinks to her knees. He picks up her inert figure and carries her
to the bed. The hot trumpet and drums from the Four Deuces sound loudly.]
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‘Springs’ animalistic, almost like pouncing
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‘tiger-tiger’ animalistic,
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Ironic as he has been hunting and the predator in this scene
She eventually gives up
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He has caught his prey
‘inert figure’ she has lost hope and succeeds that he has indeed won
‘hot trumpet’
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Symbolises sex

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