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In the following text, I would like to discuss the presentation of the character Blanche DuBois, in act one by Tennessee Williams.

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In the following text, I would like to discuss the presentation of the character Blanche DuBois, in act one by Tennessee Williams. At first I want to say something about her name. It is of French origin as it means "White from the woods" when it is translated. On the one hand, white stands for virginity, youth, freshness, clearness, but on the other hand also for innocence. It is also contrasting with "from the woods" as I associate woods with a dark colour. It could be that she has a good and a bad side or that she seems to be free of problems, but has loads of them. These are the first thoughts a reader of "Streetcar named desire" might have, when he reads this name. The setting of this play is in New Orleans, in a poor quarter where many different nationalities are mixed up. The first description we are given of Blanche DuBois is in scene one in the stage directions. These are very important as they give us a first impression of Blanche: [Blanche comes around a corner, carrying a valise. ...read more.


They embrace and Blanche talks feverishly and seems nearly hysterical. She tells Stella to turn off the over-light, because she does not want to be seen the way she looks like at the moment. I think she does not want the light on her because it is exposing the truth. In the following stage direction when she wants to have another tumbler of whiskey, you can see that she is very nervous, hysterical - mentally unstable: [She rushes to the closet and removes the bottle; she is shaking all over and panting for breath as she tries to laugh. The bottle nearly slips from her grasp.] She lies to her sister when she seeks the bottle of whiskey, because she knows where it is. As Blanche speaks, she reveals her unsettled emotional state. In just a brief dialogue with her sister, Blanche expresses affection, shock, modesty, concern for Stella, vanity, resentment and uncertainty about herself. While almost every sentence reveals another dimension of Blanche's inner turbulence, the dialogue also illustrates the relationship between the sisters. She treats Stella in a patronising way and is domineering. Stella says in the text to Blanche: "You never did give me a chance to say much, Blanche. ...read more.


Unable to accept responsibility, she may be casting blame on the dead people in her family and ultimately on her little sister, all characters, take note, without the capacity to defend themselves. Blanch has suffered terribly. Loneliness and desire are integral to her being. She chose the harsh road of staying at Belle Reve to care for the dying, and she has suffered because of it. For many years, she was a delicate young woman who lived alone in house full of the terminally ill. When Stella runs to the bathroom in tears, Stanley returns from bowling. This is the first encounter between him and Blanche. He asks her a lot of questions. Finally, when Stanley asks her about her marriage, Blanche cannot talk about it with him. The only thing she said: "The boy - the boy died. [She sinks back down.] I'm afraid I'm - going to be sick! [Her head falls on her arms.]" It seems that the subject is too painful for her or that she has something to hide. But at this point we know that she was married. She must have been very young, because she is talking of a boy. It is a very dramatic ending. 1 Anne Kolouschek 12 MA ...read more.

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