What impression of Blanche is created in the first scene of A Streetcar named disire?

Authors Avatar

What impression of Blanche is created in the first scene?

Blanche is an extremely volatile, and is physically and emotionally insecure character to say the least. Her instabilities range from excessive vanity, to a need for alcohol, and a need to find unconditional love. Indeed, one could say that Blanche was a brought up as a prim and proper lady, yet in reality, like the white she is often referred to, time has tainted her.

Prior to Blanches introduction, an atmosphere is set that is greatly linked to Blanche, while set in “Elysian fields” the setting is quite different to its name. Primarily, the houses have a white frame, weathered gray implying innocence lost. This idea is set many times throughout the course of this play in relation to Blanche. Even in the introduction, this idea is used a number of times with phrases like; “faded white stairs”, & “the dim white building”. An “atmosphere of decay” is depicted through out the play with the colour “brown”. Be it the “brown river”, or even the whiskey Blanche relies on, brown tends to symbolize negative facts.  This taps into another idea, one could also say that colour plays a big part for blanche, as it does not only coincide with her love of fashion, but the book lets it, and music display emotions felt in specific parts of scenes. This is evident especially by the music playing in the background, “the blue piano”. This music instills a degree of melancholy on the reader, and as the title suggests (and similarly to the ‘Blues’) is a depiction of morbidity in the atmosphere, and yet it is only present to Blanche.

Even in the initial dialogue of the play, sexual innuendoes appear in abundance. This is initially in the form of an “icy cold wave up and down her” and the vendor shouting “Red hot!” Phallic metaphors are used in the description of “Meat”, and are relevant to Stella and Stanley’s relationship (focused on immediately after) as it is a very sexually charged, and is a somewhat animalistic relationship.  

On Blanches arrival, in a state of “shocked disbelief” (due to the inconceivable surroundings she is in), she is dressed in a “white suit” with “ear-rings of pearl” and “white gloves”, stating her mask of white purity. With this exposition, her age is revealed, as she “must not be exposed to harsh light”, and must therefore be wrinkled. She is referred to as a moth, due to her false whiteness, but also because of her fidgety, uncertain mannerisms (common in alcoholics).

Join now!

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 ...

This is a preview of the whole essay