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Compare the way in which Blanche and Stella are portrayed in scenes one-four of Streetcar Named Desire

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Introduction

Compare the way in which Blanche and Stella are portrayed in scenes one-four of Streetcar Named Desire During the opening scenes of 'Streetcar Named Desire' Tennessee Williams goes to great lengths to emphasise the differences and similarities between Blanche and her sister Stella. The most obvious of these differences is that Blanche if shown to be undergoing a mental breakdown and subsequently is highly driven by fantasy, whereas Stella is very much more down to earth and rooted in the physical world. Blanche's mental instability is shown clearly towards the beginning of the play during her opening convocation with Stella her language is described as 'feverish' and 'hysterical' and is also fluctuated by regular pauses. Blanches hysterical monologues are a continual trend throughout the opening scenes, one of the most frenzied of which comes about later in the first scene when she is confessing to the fact that she has lost 'Belle Reeve'. ...read more.

Middle

In the old southern states one of the most valued things was culture, and Blanche is frequently shown to be far more cultured than Stella. For a start we are told early on that Blanche has worked as an English teacher, and throughout the plan she makes references to authors such as 'Edgar Allan Poe', in scene 1 when Blanche states that she expects to see the ______________ out of Stella's window the literary reference goes completely over her head and she responds in a very matter of fact way. Stella's lack of culture is particularly emphasised in scene four of the play, at the very start of the scene Stella is shown to have been reading a comic, which contrasts with the literature we know Blanche reeds, during this scene there is also a moment when Blanche requests a pen and paper only for Stella to reveal that ...read more.

Conclusion

Stella similarly is in a situation that may be looked on as bad because of her desire for Stanley. The difference between them is the way they handle their desire. Stella acts very nonchalant and honest about her desire for Stanley. She basks in the memory of him smashing light bulbs on their wedding night right in front of Blanche. She also openly talks about the way she feels when Stan leaves on business. Blanche, on the other hand, tries to cover up her promiscuity and puts on a very regal persona, when in fact it later becomes known to the audience that back in laurel she was in fact acting little better than a prostitute. The fact that Blanche's desire led her to her current circumstances is shown in her convocation with Stella when that use the streetcar as a metaphor for there desire, and Blanche says that it 'Brought me here'. ...read more.

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