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Character Analysis Of Blanche Dubois In A Streetcar Named Desire By Tennessee Williams Essay

The classic Southern belle was a woman who was expected to be frail, flirtatious and a guardian of youth. Their poise and purity attracted men and their virginity took away men’s sin. These women were always eager for attention. They let their beauty shine, and always made sure it was known by everyone around her. Southern belles, at times, could stir up a bit of drama. One could compare Southern Belles to a porcelain dollI. Beautiful, but if handled the wrong way, will break.

In the play, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, Williams portrays the main character, Blanche Dubois, as a Southern elle whose youth and beauty strikes her as one of the most important parts of her life she cannot live without. She has lost all she believes belongs to her which includes her fortune, family, estate, job, her late husband and soon her looks. So, to relive her crisis, she enters her sister’s household and causes chaos. During her visit, she is constantly searching for compliments from her family, men, and suitor, and is always worried of what they think of her appearance.

Blanche appears to be a vain, Southern belle, who fears that her fading beauty and youth will be the end of her. Blanche Dubois is a woman who values her beauty and ppearance. Therefore, she tries to hide every imperfection as it fades away. When entering a room, Blanche expects to be flourished with compliments and given all the attention she desires. Therefore, her sister is always sure her wishes are fulfilled. Upon entering in the first scene, Blanche is dressed in a way that is much too extravagant for the setting.

She could be described as “.. aintily dressed in a white suit with a fluffy bodice, necklace and earrings of pearl, white gloves and hat, looking as if she were arriving at a summer tea or cocktail party in the garden district” (15). This shows that Blanche’s xpectations of her sister’s house was much too luxurious than it is in reality. By wearing fancy clothes, it is a way for Blanche to make a grand appearance which may grab the attention of her family. When Blanche arrives in New Orleans, she is overjoyed to see her sister Stella, and immediately asks to look at her beauty. But tells Stella not to admire her own (18-19).

This can conclude Blanche’s insecurity of her fading looks. Blanche also remarks that Stella has gained weight; but says she hasn’t gained “one ounce in ten years” (22). By judging and comparing herself to Stella, it makes her sound more beautiful and ounger. Blanche also bears a chest full of genuine furs, pearls, tiaras, dresses and jewels which all appear to look real and expensive. Although, when asked if they were real, she denies and tell the person they are fake or costume jewelry. This shows that Blanche may appear natural and young, but beneath her makeup and luxuries, an aging woman appears.

Blanche also takes frequent hot baths. These baths symbolize youth and rejuvenation. For instance, when Blanche once arrived from bathing, she exclaimed: “here I am, all freshly bathed and scented, and feeling like a brand new human being” (37). By aying that, it confirms that Blanche believes baths give her a feel of youth, hence the reason why she frequently takes them. Blanche frequently lies about her actual age. Especially to her ‘beau’ Mitch. Before meeting Mitch, she realizes that he is in search of a possible wife due to the possibility of his mother’s death.

So Blanche introduces herself in hopes to eventually starting a new beginning. So, to make herself more appealing, Blanche lies about her age. She tells Mitch that Stella is older than her by less than a year (55). But in reality, she is five years older than Stella (15). As a Southern belle, Blanche strives to ake herself more appealing to Mitch. Blanche explains to Stella “[men] think a girl over thirty ought to-the ‘vulgar’ term is – ‘put out’. And I’m not ‘putting out” (81). This explains that men do not see women over thirty appealing and not worth marrying.

So by lying to Mitch she will deceive him and has a chance to gain his love. Finally, when Mitch asks Blanche how old she was, she acts nervously and quick changes the subject. Not only to find out that later in the play Mitch discovers the lies and no longer trusts her. By using this lie, Blanche wanted to protect her fading beauty because if she wanted to ever have a hance at marrying, she needed youth and virtue, which does not come with her actual age. Blanche has always been sensitive around light throughout the entire play. She refuses to let anyone see her in pure light; even her sister.

In act one where the sisters reunite, Blanche requests that she may not be looked at until later when she is well rested and bathed. This can conclude that knowing her looks are deterring, Blanche cannot stand to be seen purely. For that goes against her values of a Southern belle. When Blanche is with her ‘beau’ Mitch, she always has the lights turned off. This is because it is a way for Blanche to hide her facial imperfections and age to Mitch; she hasn’t told him her actual age. During one of their last dates, Mitch meets Blanche in almost total darkness.

He asks why it is so dark inside and Blanche simply replies that the dark is comforting to her (116). Although the reality is that she fears that if Mitch sees her worn face that he will no longer want and love her. Mitch then replies that he in fact has never seen her in the light or in the afternoon. He states that whenever he asks her to go out during the day that Blanche refuses with an excuse nd will not go out until after six at night in a dimmed place (116). And then at that moment where Mitch turned on lights at Stella’s house to see her “good and plain” (117), she shrieks and covers her face.

Unveiling her secret to Mitch; that she cannot stand to show him her true and natural self. In this play, the bright white light represents purity and youth. Somethings that Blanche no longer has. Therefore, the darkness represents the loss and death of her beauty and how she sees herself now. Blanche DuBois feels she cannot go on with her life knowing that she is no longer beautiful. Therefore, she changes her ppearance with heavy makeup, sweet smelling perfume and dresses herself so extravagantly that no one would realize that everything she wears is fake.

Not only does she paint her beauty, but she hides it as well. The dark, which hides her every look, has now represented her feelings towards her fading appearance; dead and something that is gone and will never return. In A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, Blanche, a fragile Southern belle, appears to fear that her fading beauty and youth will be the end of her; and eventually she finds out her beauty is gone as well as her love, she knows she can no longer go on with her life.

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