• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Blanche may be a far from admirable character, but Williams still arouses much sympathy for her, despite her weaknesses

Extracts from this document...


Chris McEvoy "Blanche may be a far from admirable character, but Williams still arouses much sympathy for her, despite her weaknesses." With reference to Williams' presentation of Blanche in scene II and in other appropriately selected parts of the play, discuss the extent to which you agree with the above statement. In your answer you should include: - Blanche's language and actions - Staging methods used to present the character of Blanche Tennessee Williams was once quoted as saying "Symbols are nothing but the natural speech of drama...the purest language of plays". This is clearly evident in A Streetcar Named Desire, one of Williams's many plays. In analyzing the main character of the story, Blanche DuBois, it is crucial to use both the literal text as well as the symbols of the story to get a complete and thorough understanding of her. Before we can understand Blanche's character we must understand the reason why she moves to New Orleans and joins her sister, Stella, and brother-in-law, Stanley. By analyzing the symbolism in the first scene, one can understand what prompted Blanche to move. Her appearance in the first scene "suggests a moth". In literature a moth represents the soul. ...read more.


Ms. DuBois never told them about the promiscuous life she lived before she came. Stanley, on the other hand, persisted in trying to find out her true past throughout the story. Considering that this is Stanley's house, his domain, it is easy to see that this spells doom for Blanche. The difference between Blanche and Stanley would not be so bad if it were not for one of Blanche's flaws. This harmful trait is Blanche's inability to adapt to her surroundings. This is seen by noting a play on words used by Williams. In the first scene Blanche is described as "daintily dressed" and mentions that she is "incongruous to her setting". Blanche cannot adapt to her surroundings, but instead tries to change them. Later in the story she says "You saw it before I came. Well, look at it now! This room is almost-dainty!". By using the word dainty in both places Williams shows us how Blanche tries to change her surrounding to match her, instead of adapting to them. This will not work with Stanley. Blanche deceives everyone for a good portion of the play. However, Stanley is continually trying to find her true history. Blanche says "I don't want realism. ...read more.


This music is heard as she explains the suicide of her husband in scene six. It is also in the background when Stanley gives her a Greyhound ticket to go home (i.e. back to cemeteries) in scene eight. It also fades in and out of the scene where Mitch confronts Blanche about her true past. In studying the main character of A Streetcar Named Desire, Blanche DuBois, it is necessary to use both a literal translation of the text as well as interspersed symbolism to have a complete understanding of her. Tennessee Williams the author of the play wrote it this way on purpose. In fact he once said that "Art is made out of symbols the way the body is made out of vital tissue". "Williams still arouses sympathy for her despite her weaknesses". I agree with this statement wholeheartedly. As I have shown in my analyses of Blanche in certain situations, and also in her mannerisms and actions, her history, William's directions and how others treated her, the author has evoked a strong feeling of sympathy for Blanche. The impression left on me upon completing my reading of the play was one of pity and sorrow for her 'unsuccessful journey'. In my opinion, she is akin to the tragic heroes of Shakespearian writings in that she has flaws which prove to be her eventual, inevitable downfall. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level A Street Car Named Desire section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level A Street Car Named Desire essays

  1. Free essay

    Tennessee Williams wrote in a letter that It (Streetcar) is a tragedy with the ...

    5 star(s)

    Williams does this to encourage the audience to question her choice to seek help in New Orleans. It may be argued that Blanche would have fallen from grace if she hadn't visited Elysian Fields, yet it seems clear that her blatant misjudgement of New Orleans society and those within it

  2. Marked by a teacher

    To what extent can Blanche Dubois be considered a tragic hero?

    5 star(s)

    In some respects, Blanche's eventual fall from grace is implied from the beginning of the play, in scene 1 she says "They told me to take a streetcar named Desire, and then transfer to one called Cemeteries and then ride six blocks and get off at Elysian Fields."

  1. How far do the Kowalskis and the DuBois different notions lead to a tragic ...

    Therefore Williams has used these techniques and used them to stress the contrasts in notions, such as the contrast in visual coloured costumes and sound effects such as music. As the scene progresses Blanche continues to show her literary knowledge when she says "Why, that's my favourite sonnet by Mrs Browning!"

  2. A Steercar Named Desire - Blanche's Psychological Breakdown.

    He has a great contempt for women and refers to them as "the lower race". But strangely can't get enough of them, " It seemed to him that he had been so schooled by bitter experience that he might call them what he liked, and yet he could not get on for two days together without the lower race".

  1. Holes-Why is it a good novel for teenagers?

    friendship; the harshness of reality and the importance of history in everyday life. The theme can teach teenagers how life from a different angle can be like; it also tells us why friends can be important to us. The novel also tells us that Stanley had been overweight and used

  2. What dramatic techniques and devices does Williams deploy in order to depict the different ...

    It is quite obvious that she does not want to reveal her fading looks. Light in this play symbolizes Blanches past. She is haunted by her past and ghosts, maybe of her dead husband. We learn how he means the world to her and he is why she cannot leave her past behind.

  1. To what extent is it possible for an audience to have sympathy for the ...

    The audience know this is not true and later Stanley realises too. Williams does this to emphasise Blanche?s mental instability, reflected in the polka music, as even she begins to believe her own lie. Stanley begins to see through Blanche?s act which forebodes tragedy, for example he knows about the

  2. How does Williams suggest that Blanche and Mitch seem to be out of place ...

    be accepted by him because of the nature of her arrival and the way in which she avoids the true answers to his questions and plays dumb, such as when Stanley asks ?where are the papers??, to which she simply replies ?papers!

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work