Blanches backwardness is made clear for the first time in her bid to cling to the past by calling Mrs. Stanley Kowalski, Stella DuBois. This also signifies the period the play was written as the female is referred to through her husband. From this moment on, Blanche is noticeably dismissive of Eunice, holds a derogatory sarcasm through out. Her repetitions of the same word to Eunice’s varied question are extremely dismissive, yet her vanity peers through in stating, “Yes?” as a question on news Stella spoke of her. On mention of Belle Reve, we come to realize that it means beautiful dream. This is obviously not the case though, as Blanche immediately goes off the point when its upkeep is mentioned. Blanche behaves very haughtily in the scene, and through the use of condescending language, and unsubtle hints (“id like to be left alone”), managed to offend, and therefore get rid of Eunice. This disassociation she wishes to have with Eunice not only portrays blanche in a haughty light, but also gives the impression that Blanche feels in Belle Reve, someone like Eunice would be have been her servant.
Blanche is an extremely nervous person, and “catches her breath with a startled gesture” on hearing a cat screech. A reason for this nervous reaction is apparent when we realize her affiliation with whiskey. Not only does she drink the whiskey uninvited, but she attempts to mask her tracks as well. This is a primary indication that she is an alcoholic as is talking to ones self (“I’ve got to keep hold of myself”).
Williams juxtaposes this falseness present in Blanche with a sincere joy in Stella. Subsequent to this initial outburst, and on staring at one another, the sisters are judging each another, and are seeing the marks left by time. Blanches’ vanity is highlighted in her statement; “I wont be looked at in that merciless glare”, and yet it is made clear that she knows time is catching up with her. Blanche is also brash and makes extremely rude remarks about the location Stella lives in. She views it as a “Horrible place”, yet quickly corrects herself with extreme sarcasm, focusing on her ability to be something she is not.
At this time, Blanche is relatively drunk, made evident by her “shaking all over the place”, and her “panting”. While Stella notices, she does not probe the situation, but tactfully leaves her sister to dominate the conversation. In doing so, Stella is forced to face the cruel reality that is Blanche. On meeting, the two were high on excitement, yet now; Stella is made to deal with the negative side as well as the sisterly side. This is evident when Blanche almost harasses Stella and states, “Only Mr. Edgar Alan Poe”(an American horror wrier) “could do it justice!” and yet still expects sympathy in saying “You’re all I’ve got in the world”. Stella, accustomed to blanches rambling, very rarely questions, or interrupts her. This depicts Stella to be a somewhat submissive character, yet able to be dismissive of Blanches irrational nature.
Blanches’ ability to draw attention to herself is highlighted through her questioning Stella’s accusation that Stella never even made. This shows her judging Stella by her own standards, and jumping to conclusions. She also lies further about the alcohol stating, “One’s my limit”. As she goes on to explain why she left the school before questioning her appearance, and fishing for compliments, and later stating she “hasn’t put on an ounce in ten years, she immediately states her views on Stella’s body, saying she’s “as plump as a partridge”, and then worsening the statement by remarking its becomingness to her. She is depicted as stuck in the past in this scene on mention of Belle Reve and Stella’s departure from it.
The timeframe this play was written is shown once more with the usage of racial slurs, such as “Negro” & “Polack”. The point Williams was trying to portray, is that Blanche is generally the only utiliser of these words, and while the rest of the cast are modern, and co-habit without much racism, blanch is still in her own world of Belle Reve, were ‘Americans’ were the only race worth mentioning. Blanche then judges Stella by her standards again, in asking, “He had those”(colours) “on when you met him”? She is implying Stella’s materialism, even though it doesn’t exist. She fails to comprehend a person can feel true love for a person, and not have something else to keep it going.
Stella becomes extremely self-conscious on news that Stanley hasn’t had news of her arrival, yet this is due to the picture she has seen, and his looks. She has a preconceived image of Stanley laid out in her mind, and her separation from the modern world is further portrayed through this, as she could have never expected what she was to see. On Stella’s exclamation that she goes “wild” when away from Stanley, blanche is shocked that her baby sister can feel such sexual emotions. This is a further depiction of her being stuck in the past, and her resentment cast in relation to this new world.
Blanche Now begins to ‘lay the soil’ for the news she is about to tell Stella, yet she does so in a very nervous way, with an obvious uneasiness about her. With a minor degree of questioning on Stella’s part, Blanche goes off on a tangent and throws accusations at Stella, and becomes extremely defensive (suggesting a degree of guilt). In a feeble attempt to gain sympathy, Blanche states, “you left, I stayed”, and knowing that she could hurt Stella, moves the blame onto her. She says, “you are the one who abandoned Belle Reve, not me”, and then concludes to say that it has been lost.
Blanche becomes relatively spiteful towards Stella with comments like “you’re a fine one to ask” & “you’re a fine one to sit there accusing me” prior to any real statement from Stella. Then Blanche really begins to give the painful blows in talking about the deaths the family endured. Or as she put it, the deaths she endured. Through her proclamation of her financial difficulties, and her incessant badgering of Stella, and her final assault (“Where were you? In bed with your-polak!”) Blanche caused Stella to leave. After this act of ‘emotional ‘brutality’, blanche had the audacity to question Stella’s reason for crying
On the men’s entrance, our initial impression of them is set with a callous joke and they bring a ruckus to the format of the play. We initially see one tempestuous, and yet lasting relationship in Steve and Eunice, and this is immediately made unimportant by the frank impression we gain of Stanley. He is the epitome of the word lad, and carries an “animal joy” and heightened levels of testosterone in relation to other men. As we find out, this is not always a good thing. We are told how he judges women, and are brought down to the earth with a bang on his introduction to Blanche. There is a sharp contrast between the prior conversation between Stella and Blanche, and this one. Here, Stanley is the dominant one, and we get a sense of Blanche rambling excessively. He is Giving Blanche the ‘once over’ to find out exactly what he is letting himself in for. He then makes a brash remark in conversing with Stella through the toilet door, and this is the primary sign of a real clash between Stanley and Blanche. , yet in asking of her husband, a melancholy mood is injected into the play through the polka music, and blanche fainting.
This first scene portrays a weak character in need of self assurance, yet unaware, that her only real problem is herself. If in doubt about something she wishes not to be in doubt of, she will ‘prod’ the situation until even she believes the truth is what she wishes it to be. She is unaccustomed to this new breed of people, or indeed surrounding, and is at odds with it in every way, as displayed in her entrance. Blanche is a total juxtaposition of Stella, used by Williams to show the degree of variation chance, and actions can make on a persons life.