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Streetcar Coursework 2

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Lower Sixth AS Coursework Essay 2. Tennessee Williams said: "Blanche is weak and pitiful - almost a mental case." To what extent do you agree with this assessment of Blanche? Throughout A Streetcar Named Desire, Williams includes different areas of Blanche to help shape the audiences perception of her. However this quotation by Williams clearly shows the way that he wants Blanche to be seen by the audience, and when I look at the text, it is obvious that there are reasons that I agree and disagree with what Williams is saying. For instance Blanche always seems concerned about getting old by the way she lies about her age. But there is also the very independent side of Blanche's character that shows she is completely sane. Williams proves his point about Blanche's character during the play by teaching the audience about her obsession with bathing. The playwright includes a line in the first scene of the play, "Not till I've bathed!" This immediately shows that she is always worried about the way that she looks, and that she is not in the best condition. The reason she is so conscious about how she looks is because she is hoping to get married before she becomes old and unattractive. ...read more.


This fear of strong light is ironic because Blanche is very much attracted to limelight. During the poker night in scene three, the stage directions show Blanche "take off her blouse...through the portieres" This shows that she wants to be seen when she is wearing a more promiscuous outfit .This attraction to limelight is why the original idea of the play's name by Williams was 'The Moth'. This whole idea of Blanche always avoiding direct contact with light goes with Williams' evaluation of his leading lady. Another reason why I could disagree with Williams' statement is the way he shows Blanche attempt to take Stella away from Stanley at times. During the third scene, Blanche says the line "We'll go to that woman's upstairs!" This shows that even in the different circumstances, she is very happy to try and take her sister away from Stanley even though he is very vulnerable at the time. This disagrees with what Williams says about Blanche because it shows that she has tremendous willpower, because at the time the play was written, men were very much dominant over woman so for Blanche to stand up to a character like Stanley proves that she is not weak. ...read more.


The music is in the stage directions in the last scene, "The Varsouviana is playing distantly." This shows that the music appears to haunt her, which further illustrates her mental collapse. This music is also brought up during other stages of the play and is used to remind the audience and Blanche about the young boy, and it shows that she is not mentally stable but it also shows why. This loss of Allan has proved to be what leads to Blanche being the way she is, it is also used by Williams to help the audience feel sympathy towards her. So all in all, I would say that I agree with Williams' assessment about Blanche to a very large extent but not entirely. Throughout the play we notice that she is very self-conscious and always looking to live in a world, blind of the truth. However Williams instils a feeling of independence in Blanche by showing her standing to Stanley and sticking up for her little sister. Nevertheless I do not feel that this independence and bravery is enough to convince me that she is not weak, pitiful and almost a head case. ?? ?? ?? ?? Toby Jones A Streetcar Named Desire 12/03/2008 - Tennessee Williams ...read more.

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