Blanche Dubois is a complex character. She sees herself the way she wants to be, rather than for the way she is. She is a self- centered and manipulative, but at the same time utterly vulnerable. Blanche is constantly surrounding herself with things that will ultimately contribute towards her downfall. She sees the world in a different shade compared to everyone else in the play. Her morals are wrong and she’s an avid drinker who is filled with contradictions. She is a lonely woman who seeks company from strangers, who above all else just wants to feel wanted.
As the play progressed, I saw many of the fabrications Blanche slowly engulfed her life around. Whether she was conversing with Mitch about her age, or telling Stella about her reason for leaving her job as a schoolteacher, it was obvious that Blanche had a terrible problem with lying to the people closest to her. She’s quoted saying, “I don’t tell truths, I tell what ought to be truth” (Williams, 1947). Blanche is so infatuated with her own idea of reality that she chooses to see everything differently than for the way life truly is.
She cannot come to the realization that she is penniless, living in her sister’s apartment, with no place to call home. Blanche doesn’t approve of her sister’s lifestyle as well as her husband, Stanley Kowalski. She believes that Stella is too good for Stanley and deserves someone better, she wants her to get out of the abusive relationship she sees Stella in. Blanche would much rather get herself out of New Orleans altogether, but she has nowhere else to go. Publically humiliated out of her own town, Stella’s the only person Blanche has.
Even though Blanche seeks refuge in her sister’s home, she still wants Stella to think that she has made something for herself, although Blanche was not able to keep he family estate, she wants it to be known that she did everything in her power to keep the place. When Blanche said, “Sit there and stare at me, thinking I let the place go? I let the place go? Where were you? In bed with your- Polack! ” There is resentment in Blanche’s words when she discussed their childhood home to Stella. Blanche resents her sister for leaving and starting a family, while she was left to take care of the estate all by herself. Streetcar Named Desire Quotes, 2016)
It isn’t soon after Blanche and Stanley Kowalski meet that problems begin. They both feel threatened by one another and ren’t afraid to show their dislike. Stanley feels as if Blanche’s arrival sparked something in Stella that never needed to surface. The longer Blanche stays, the more Stella begins to acting outside of her character. Stella talks out of place and changes her and Stanley’s normal, everyday routine. Causing a disruption in Stanley’s “simple and structured” way of life.
Stanley holds resentment towards Blanche and blames her for coming into his home and messing up his “order”. In the online article, “Blanche, Stanley, and the Civil War”, it states, “Stanley’s intense masculine power and sexuality contrast sharply with Blanche’s affectedly feminine vulnerability and flirtation, adding another dimension to their characterization as opposing forces. ” (A Streetcar Named Desire: Blanche, Stanley, and the Civil War). The violent progression between Blanche and Stanley throughout the play only thickens.
Towards the end, Stanley comes home to find Blanche in a distressed state, Stanley knows that if he assaults Blanche, it will be the final thing that pushes her over the edge. Not even Stella can believe her husband of doing such a thing. Stanley knows that can get away with it. As Stanley carries Blanche to the bed, he’s quoted saying, We’ve had this date with each other from the beginning! ” This shows that even from the beginning, there was always some form of desire between Blanche and Stanley. The difference between the two is that Stanley’s desire roots from power, from acquisition.
Blanche’s developed from loneliness, and eventually ends in her deafening loss of reality. In scene six Blanche says, “The first time I laid eyes on him I thought to myself, that man is my executioner. ” Blanche’s word’s foretold her downfall. Stanley’s desire for Blanche ultimately led to her loss of reality, which to Blanche, is just the same as death. Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire, 1947) In the opening scene, Blanche says, “They told me to take a streetcar named Desire, and then transfer to one called Cemeteries and ride six blocks and get off at Elysian Fields. (Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire, 1947).
Tennessee Williams made it evident that Desire would have a big part in the play. By Williams’ reference to the street-car named “Desire”, and then the Cemetery, he was foretelling the audience the importance of desire and death. Which correlates to Blanche DuBois in such a big way. Desire to Blanche is a vast representation of death. Her late husband’s desire to other men led to his suicide, she lost the family plantation due to the men in her families need for desire.
She even lost her job due to her physical desire towards a young student. Blanche knows that her desires would eventually lead to her dismay. When Mitch comes to see Blanche, she finally “comes clean” about all of her past mistakes. It is the first time in the play that shows how utterly vulnerable Blanch DuBois really is. This scene shows the dark and delusional side of her. In the scene, Blanche is quoted saying, “There was nowhere else I could go. I was played out. You know what played out is?
My youth was suddenly gone up the water-spout, and- I met you. You said you needed somebody. WelI, I needed somebody too”. Blanche shows who she really is in this scene, behind all the lies. Mitch destroys her when he walks out the door. When she’s left there in that apartment alone, she’s devastated. She begins to drink profusely in order to block out the painful representation of her true self. The only way her mind could rehabilitate from the agonizing realization of her life was to believe the facade in which she now thought to be real.
Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire, 1947) When Blanche converses with others, she makes up things in order to make herself, and her social life look more glamourous and lavish than what it actually is. When Stanley starts to questions the truth behind Blanche’s words is when she begins to question her sanity. Blanche talks for days about her admirers from her past and how they give her anything she desires. She is totally infatuated with her own delusional world. So it comes to a shock to Blanche when Stanley finds out about her past, and all her late nights spent at the Flamingo.
He then egins to relentlessly punish her with the true representation of herself. Blanche lies to her sister and everyone around her until there’s no-one left to listen. The twisted thing is, the only truth she wants people to hear, is the one thing that no one would dare listen to. Blanche DuBois kept up a veil, between her real life, and the one she wished it to be. Until her mind obliterated the veil that was trying so desperately to hold her together. Blanche’s last lines were, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers”. Ironic, that being the very thing that put her in there.