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How is tension conveyed between Stella and Blanche in Scene 1 of A street car named desire.

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Introduction

How is tension conveyed between Stella and Blanche in Scene 1? During the conversation between Blanche and Stella, there is a lot of tension, which is conveyed in various ways. The reason there is tension there is because Blanche had to tell her sister that she has lost their old family home, Belle Reve, and there is a gradual build up of tension before Stella is finally told. This scene shows us how nervous and anxious Blanche is. Before Stella arrives, Blanche is sitting 'very stiffly' in a chair. The body language described to us shows that she is on edge and obviously nervous about something. When she notices some whiskey in a cupboard she has some without thinking, but is then very careful to put everything back. The word tosses is used to describe how she drinks it, suggesting that she is used to drinking strong alcohol quickly. ...read more.

Middle

Blanche never really gives Stella much of a chance to talk, which shows how she is the dominant sibling; 'Stella complies reluctantly'. She talks down to her sister about her living conditions without talking into consideration that Stella may enjoy her life. Blanche mentions her nerves, 'not with my nerves tonight', 'my-nerves broke' and when talking about some subjects she stutters and pauses which show how she is uncomfortable and nervous. Blanche needs reassurance form Stella about her appearance, and many times tries to provoke Stella to tell her how great she is looking, 'But you don't look at me', 'You haven't said a word about my appearance', 'daylight never exposed so total a ruin', 'I want you to look at my figure' and 'even though my looks are slipping'. These constant referrals to herself show that she is quite insecure and likes constant flattery. ...read more.

Conclusion

She does not want to be a burden on Stella. We are told of how they talk, 'dubiously', and 'dutifully' to each other showing that they are making an effort to get along well. When Blanche starts to tell Stella about Belle Reve, it is apparent that Stella can sense she is about to be told something quite shocking, 'Her face turns anxious'. Again, when Blanche starts to tell her we see her delaying the news and she starts to try and make Stella sympathise with her by saying how hard it has been for her. Blanche rushes through how Belle Reve was lost not noticing Stella's reaction and gives her speech a very melodramatic tone and tells Stella it is mainly her fault. This upsets Stella and she starts to cry. There is a long silence and we are told that 'the music of the 'blue piano' grows louder' emphasising the awkwardness and tension. We are also told 'Blanche touches her handkerchief to her forehead' which seems quite melodramatic also. Tension is conveyed successfully between the two characters in this scene. ...read more.

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