A Streetcar Named Desire

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Blanche DuBois Character Analysis

Stella’s older sister, about thirty years old, was a high school English teacher in Laurel, Mississippi until recently forced to leave her position. Blanche is nervous and appears constantly on edge, as though any slight disturbance could shatter her sanity. As a young woman, she married a man she later discovered to be homosexual, and who committed suicide after that discovery. When Blanche arrives at the Kowalskis’ apartment, she is at the end of her rope: she has spiraled into a pattern of notorious promiscuity and alcoholism, and she has lost Belle Reve, the family plantation, due to a string of mortgages. But she clings desperately to the trappings of her fading Southern belle self: “Her delicate beauty must avoid a strong light. There is something about her uncertain manner, as well as her white clothes, that suggests a moth.” Blanche loves Stella and tries to get her sister to escape New Orleans. Blanche is repulsed by Stanley, yet finds herself almost hypnotically attracted by his physical power, like a moth to the flame.

Blanche DuBois Quotes in A Streetcar Named Desire

The A Streetcar Named Desire quotes below are all either spoken by Blanche DuBois or refer to Blanche DuBois. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Sexual Desire Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the New Directions edition of A Streetcar Named Desire published in 2004.
Scene 1 Quotes

They told me to take a street-car named Desire, and transfer to one called Cemeteries, and ride six blocks and get off at—Elysian Fields!

Related Characters: Blanche DuBois (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Streetcar
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:

Blanche DuBois has just arrived in New Orleans, where her sister, Stella, lives with her husband, Stan Kowalski. The neighborhood she arrives in is seedy but also exciting, with heated, sexual tension in the air. Blanche, dressed all in fancy white clothes and delicately fluttering like a moth, appears very out of place in the rough, blue-collar atmosphere. Blanche approaches Eunice and a black woman, who are sitting on the stoop of the Kowalski’s apartment, and says these lines. They are her first lines in the play, and situate her arrival both literally and metaphorically.

On the one hand, Blanche gives the literal directions through New Orleans, since these are the names of the streetcars that she would have used to travel to the actual neighborhood. Yet the directions also illustrate the allegorical journey that Blanche has taken throughout her life that has led her to this spot. In Greek mythology, the Elysian Fields are the final resting place of heroic and virtuous souls. Blanche’s pursuit of her taboo desires (which at this early stage of the play have not yet been revealed) has led her through a kind of death, that is, her expulsion from her hometown, Laurel, Mississippi. Now, Blanche has landed in a kind of afterlife, where she hopes she will be able to put aside her past and begin anew—but, of course, this is soon revealed to be a delusion.

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Stella, oh, Stella, Stella! Stella for Star!

Related Characters: Blanche DuBois (speaker), Stella Kowalski
Page Number: 10
Explanation and Analysis:

When Blanche is first reunited with her sister, Stella, she cries out Stella’s name over and over, with a warmth that borders on hysteria. Blanche’s greeting shows her love for her sister, but also demonstrates her desperation. The lines also show how Blanche wants to live in a world of fantasy, not reality. By referring to her sister as “Stella for Star,” she calls attention to the name’s allegorical meaning ("stella" is Latin for "star"), and in doing so emphasizes how she prefers to live in the beauty of the fantasy that she constructs about herself, not in gritty reality.

Blanche herself is already attempting to act out the meaning of her own name by dressing all in white, since “blanche” means “white.” Even though Blanche has had a troubled past, she wants to become innocent and clean again. However, despite the façade of purity, Blanche is hardly as innocent as she seems. Just before Stella arrives, Blanche gulps down some whisky, using alcohol as an attempt to escape reality. When Stella comes in, Blanche immediately focuses her attention her sister, trying to deflect away from her own troubles.

Stella's name is also significant in its own right, as she serves as a guiding star and moral compass for both Stanley and Blanche throughout the play.

Sit there and stare at me, thinking I let the place go? I let the place go? Where were you! In bed with your–Polack!

Related Characters: Blanche DuBois (speaker), Stanley Kowalski, Stella Kowalski
Page Number: 22
Explanation and Analysis:

Blanche lashes out against Stella for choosing to leave the family estate of Belle Reve for a lower-class lifestyle. From Blanche’s perspective, Stella appears to have rejected the family’s aristocratic background in favor of a marriage to a man that she sexually desires.

But Stella is not embarrassed to be married to Stanley. Rather, Blanche is projecting her own feelings of shame onto Stella. Blanche cannot face her own guilt over letting Belle Reve collapse into both social and financial ruin. Instead, she makes herself feel morally superior by blaming Stella rather than herself. The word “Polack” demonstrates Blanche’s desperation to cling to social hierarchy: she uses racial slurs to cast down Stanley and to make herself feel as though she is of a higher class.

Blanche is also jealous of Stella’s freedom. Blanche has become an outcast in her hometown, Laurel, Mississippi, because of her scandalous behavior. She envies Stella’s relationship with her husband, and she envies Stella’s ability to live a happy and fulfilled life rather than being burdened with the ghosts of the past. Blanche cannot bear to face her own wrongdoings, and so she instead attempts to make Stella feel guilty for leaving, casting herself as the martyr rather than admitting her mistakes.

Scene 2 Quotes

After all, a woman’s charm is fifty percent illusion.

Related Characters: Blanche DuBois (speaker)
Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:

When Blanche tells Stanley that illusion is fifty percent of a woman’s charm, she is, ironically, speaking to him directly for the first time. Stanley has declared his impatience with Blanche’s coy maneuvers and indirect flirtations, so Blanche changes tactics. Rather than play the innocent ingénue figure, she acts as though she is being open with Stanley, putting all her cards on the table and having a frank conversation rather than continuing her coquettish dance.

Yet Blanche is still continuing to hide behind illusions, even when she says that she is speaking entirely openly. She acts as though she is completely open with Stanley, yet she still snatches away the love letters from him. She also begins to faint and flutter at the merest mention of mortgages and money, playing the weak woman for Stanley’s benefit, as well as for her own, since she does not want to face ugly financial truths. Not only does Blanche create illusions to charm Stanley, she also uses illusion to hide from reality herself. Blanche also leaves unanswered the other half of her statement: if illusion is only fifty percent of a woman’s charm, there must be another fifty percent made of something else.


Oh, I guess he’s just not the type that goes for jasmine perfume, but maybe he’s what we need to mix with our blood now that we’ve lost Belle Reve.

Related Characters: Blanche DuBois (speaker), Stanley Kowalski
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:

When Stella returns home, Blanche tells her that she and Stanley have discussed the matter of Belle Reve and their family’s finances, and that they’ve settled things out. To Stella, Blanche describes her conversation with Stanley lightly, assuring her that everything is fine. In this depiction of events, Blanche suggests that even though she and Stella come from a higher class than Stanley, sometimes people like Stanley can help balance them out and ground them in real life.

When Blanche shows Stanley the mortgage papers to prove that Belle Reve, the ancestral home, has indeed been lost, and that the cause of the loss was bad investment by several generations of ancestors, Stanley becomes sheepish and says that he is so concerned because Stella is going to have a baby. Upon learning that Stella is pregnant, Blanche switches from painting Stanley as a brute who is unworthy of Stella’s love to portraying Stanley as a raw, untamed man who will benefit from Stella and Blanche’s generosity in opening their family to him. 

Scene 3 Quotes

I can’t stand a naked light bulb, any more than I can a rude remark or a vulgar action.

Related Characters: Blanche DuBois (speaker)
Related Symbols: Paper Lantern and Paper Moon, Shadows
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:

Blanche puts up a paper lantern to cover the harsh light of the naked light bulb, both because she wants to soften the physical light so that she appears more beautiful, and also because she wants to take symbolic control over the setting so that she can have control over her flirtation with Mitch. Blanche uses the paper lantern to make herself appear to be an innocent young woman in front of Mitch. By declaring that she has no stomach for rudeness or incivility, Blanche paints a picture of herself as an aristocratic woman with high standards who lives an impeccable, well-mannered life.

However, Blanche does not just dislike the uncovered light bulb because she finds it to be cheap or in bad taste. Rather, her fear of the naked light symbolically represents her fear of truth. Blanche never wants to face the harsh light of day, but instead would rather make everything look more beautiful and more appealing, and to live in the world of fantasy and beauty rather than the crude world of facts. By putting a paper lantern over the naked light bulb, Blanche also symbolically replaces reality with illusion.

Scene 4 Quotes

What you are talking about is brutal desire–just–Desire!–the name of that rattle-trap street-car that bangs through the Quarter.

Related Characters: Blanche DuBois (speaker), Stella Kowalski
Related Symbols: The Streetcar
Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:

The streetcar named Desire that provides this play with its title is both the name of a streetcar in New Orleans and a metaphor for the powerful and often dangerous emotion that propels the characters in the play. Even though each character might choose to step onto the streetcar, he or she does not necessarily know where the streetcar will go, or how long the ride will be, or whether or not he or she will be able to get off. Desire is the engine that powers New Orleans in Williams' play. As the streetcar rumbles through the streets, everyone is reminded of its constant, inescapable presence, and of the fact that this force is what governs everyone in the city.

Blanche is scornful about desire because she fears it. Desire, to Blanche, signifies a raw, animal energy that she cannot pretend to ignore. Blanche also knows that desire is the passion that drove her to New Orleans in the first place. Allegorically, succumbing to illicit desire drives Blanche out of her hometown, and then Desire literally drives Blanche to Stella and Stanley’s apartment.

Don’t–don’t hang back with the brutes!

Related Characters: Blanche DuBois (speaker), Stanley Kowalski, Stella Kowalski
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:

Blanche tells Stella that Stanley is an uncivilized animal, and that when Stella associates herself with him, she is turning her back on the world of culture and art that they came from. Yet Blanche’s tirade against Stanley is ultimately not so much a warning for Stella, but a demonstration of Blanche’s own anxiety and her resulting defense mechanisms. Blanche fears Stanley’s power because she can’t control it, and she looks down on Stanley because he comes from a lower class than Blanche and Stella. Blanche is also anxious about her own sexual attraction to Stanley. Her admonition to Stella and her rage against Stanley serve as Blanche’s warning to herself.

Blanche’s characterization of Stanley as a brute also carries prejudiced overtones. Throughout the play, Blanche refers to Stanley in a derogatory way as a “Polack,” equating his ethnic heritage with associations of low culture and ape-like qualities. She puts down Stanley to try to lift herself and her own background up by comparison.

Scene 5 Quotes

Young man! Young, young, young man! Has anyone ever told you that you look like a young Prince out of the Arabian Nights?

Related Characters: Blanche DuBois (speaker)
Related Symbols: Paper Lantern and Paper Moon
Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:

Blanche flirts with the boy who comes to collect money for subscriptions to the newspaper, which is called the "Evening Star." By calling him a prince from the Arabian Nights, Blanche sweeps the boy into her world of fantasy and illusion. Blanche wants to create a fairy-tale world around her so that she doesn’t have to face any consequences of her actions, but Blanche is also very aware of her seductive powers throughout her flirtation with the paper boy, deliberately turning his innocent words into sexually charged statements. When the boy reveals that he has just had a cherry soda, Blanche lingers on the flavor, drawing attention to its sensuality. Her emphasis on the word “young” also foreshadows the information Stanley reveals about Blanche later in the play, that is, that she was exiled from her hometown for her sexual relations with boys. (And her attraction to youth is presumably also connected to her fear of her own aging self.)

The idea of the Arabian Nights contrasts with Blanche’s slurs against Stanley. Although she refers to Stanley as a “Polack” in a condescending way, she uses the illusion of foreignness to deepen her fantasy of the young boy. The name of the paper, the "Evening Star," is another symbolic name that becomes both a real-life signifier and an allegory throughout the play. Blanche far prefers the night to the day, and starlight to sunlight, because she never wants to face the full truth. The Evening Star also riffs on the “Paper Moon” song that Blanche sings throughout the play: the Star paper and the paper moon form a false, alternate reality. 

Scene 6 Quotes

Sometimes–there’s God–so quickly!

Related Characters: Blanche DuBois (speaker)
Page Number: 116
Explanation and Analysis:

Despite acting as though she is laying the whole truth bare to Mitch, Blanche is still pretending to be innocent when she flirts with him. Blanche divulges the story of her failed marriage, but she tells the story in such a way that she is the one who deserves pity and help. Even though she acts like she is opening up to tell Mitch her darkest, most sordid secrets, she disguises her confessions in a cloak of romance that makes her appear in a favorable light.

In the context of the scene, it is unclear whether or not Blanche’s exclamation is addressed to Mitch or to herself. If it’s addressed to Mitch, she is still playing the sweet, innocent victim, and the exclamation comes as a sign of her desire to ensnare him through her guiles. If the exclamation is addressed to herself, it could signal a crack in her façade, showing a moment of genuine relief that someone is there to pay attention to her and to give her comfort and acceptance. 

Scene 7 Quotes

It’s only a paper moon, Just as phony as it can be–But it wouldn’t be make-believe If you believed in me!

Related Characters: Blanche DuBois (speaker)
Related Symbols: Bathing, Paper Lantern and Paper Moon
Page Number: 121
Explanation and Analysis:

“It’s Only a Paper Moon” is a jazz standard written in 1933 that became popular in the 1940s, with versions sung by Ella Fitzgerald and the Nat King Cole Trio. In the context of the play, the song becomes a symbol for the delusion that Blanche attempts to live in, rather than facing reality. Blanche sings “Paper Moon” from the bathroom offstage, while onstage, Stanley tells Stella the true story that he has discovered about why Blanche had to leave Laurel, Mississippi.

The sentimental song is used as a counterpoint to Stanley’s rant against Blanche. The lines are interwoven, as though the two are singing a duet, yet the narratives of this duet run directly in counterpoint against each other. While Blanche sings this sentimental song about living in a paper world, waiting for love, Stanley reveals to Stella the sordid realities of Blanche’s life. As Blanche sings and Stanley rants, the lyrics come to seem more and more ironic. The song presents the singer as an innocent person caught in a false world who can only be saved by being loved. Yet Blanche, Stanley’s tirade reveals, is the one who has been creating these falsehoods.

Scene 9 Quotes

I told you already I don’t want none of his liquor and I mean it. You ought to lay off his liquor. He says you’ve been lapping it up all summer like a wild-cat!

Related Characters: Harold Mitchell (Mitch) (speaker), Blanche DuBois, Stanley Kowalski
Related Symbols: Alcohol and Drunkenness
Page Number: 143
Explanation and Analysis:

Throughout the play, metaphors of beasts and animality are used throughout the play to refer to physical lust and raw sexuality. Blanche calls Stanley a “brute” and a “beast.” The stage directions refer to Stanley as a rooster preening among female hens. Here, Mitch’s use of the term “wildcat” for Blanche foreshadows Stanley’s outcry later in the play, when Stanley calls Blanche a “tiger” just before raping her. Calling Blanche a “wildcat” also symbolically pulls Blanche from the realm of magic into the physical world.

Mitch also proudly differentiates himself from Stanley in this exclamation. Stanley is the alpha male throughout the entire play. However, in this outburst, Mitch declares himself to be self-sufficient, and therefore, by implication, a sexual partner worthy of Blanche’s attention on his own terms. Blanche treats Mitch as a sympathetic and gentle character, but in this outburst, Mitch tries to reclaim some of the sexual energy that Stanley exudes.

I don’t want realism. I want magic!

Related Characters: Blanche DuBois (speaker)
Related Symbols: Paper Lantern and Paper Moon
Page Number: 145
Explanation and Analysis:

When Mitch rips the paper lantern off the lightbulb, Blanche cries out against this action. She pretends to be making a melodramatic joke in the moment, but her outcry portrays Blanche’s fear of reality and the make-believe world she clings to more and more desperately as the play proceeds.

Blanche claims that she doesn’t want Mitch to see her in the light of day because she is ashamed of how old she actually is. Blanche cloaks herself in shadows and wears makeup to act as though she is younger than she really is, but she is not the maiden that she pretends to be. However, Blanche’s outcry against Mitch goes deeper than a literal request made about the lightbulb. Blanche is terrified of facing the truth, both about her sordid past and her future prospects. Ultimately, Mitch’s and Blanche’s worlds are incompatible with each other. Mitch lives in the real world, and though he might be charmed by Blanche’s flirtations, he is too firmly grounded in the light of day to be taken in by her magic forever. 

Scene 10 Quotes

Tiger–tiger! Drop the bottle-top! Drop it! We’ve had this date with each other from the beginning!

Related Characters: Stanley Kowalski (speaker), Blanche DuBois
Related Symbols: Alcohol and Drunkenness
Page Number: 162
Explanation and Analysis:

Stanley aggressively attacks Blanche, insisting that their carnal lusts have both led them to sleep with each other. Stanley calls Blanche a “tiger,” emphasizing the raw, animal power of desire present in both people. Stanley demonstrates his violent passion for Blanche in this scene, yet Blanche is not wholly guilt-free, as she also desires him, and has been physically attracted to him since the beginning of the play (her "willingness," however, depends on the production of this scene). Although Blanche likes to pretend throughout the play that she is a delicate, coy, innocent maiden who has never had more than a gentle flirtation with a man, Stanley has discovered Blanche’s more sordid sexual history, and he is not afraid to present her with the truth. Blanche wants to create illusions and live in a world of her own fantasy, but Stanley is only interested in the present moment and in reality.

Stanley’s admonition to her to drop the bottle has several layers of significance. Blanche is holding a broken bottle at Stanley in threat, so he wants her to let go of the weapon and surrender to her carnal passion. Stanley also wants Blanche to let go of the security blanket of alcohol. Rather than drowning her feelings in liquor, and drowning the present in her memories of the past, Stanley insists that she occupy the harsh, merciless present.

Scene 11 Quotes

Please don’t get up. I’m only passing through.

Related Characters: Blanche DuBois (speaker)
Related Symbols: Varsouviana Polka
Page Number: 173
Explanation and Analysis:

When Blanche tells the men playing poker in the kitchen to remain seated when she walks through, she reveals her assumption that since she is such a dignified lady, and since they are all refined gentlemen, they would automatically stand up out of respect when they see her. However, the scene that Blanche is actually entering is a very different one than she believes she is in. Although Blanche is going to be taken away to the asylum, she believes that she is going to start a new life with Shep, a wealthy suitor from her past. Her admonition to the men to stay seated represents the last gasp of Blanche’s delusion. To this point, she still thinks, or is still letting herself think, that Shep is coming to get her. But as soon as she tells the men to stay seated, she recognizes that the world she wants to enter and the reality she is in do not cohere.

Blanche’s utterance is one of extreme pathos. Stella is heartbroken over her sister’s illness, but she believes that she is doing the right thing for everyone by sending Blanche away. The audience recognizes that Blanche is living in a completely self-deluded world. The men take pity on Blanche, because they know she is having a nervous breakdown. Everyone sees Blanche for who she is except for Blanche herself.

You left nothing here but spilt talcum and old empty perfume bottles–unless it’s the paper lantern you want to take with you. You want the lantern?

Related Characters: Stanley Kowalski (speaker), Blanche DuBois
Related Symbols: Paper Lantern and Paper Moon
Page Number: 176
Explanation and Analysis:

Blanche attempts to stall her trip to the asylum, which signifies her forced acceptance of reality, by desperately pretending that she has left items behind. Stanley yells at her roughly, asking if she wants the paper lantern that she has placed over the bare bulb. Stanley’s question is literal, on the surface: Blanche bought the paper lantern, so the object does belong to her. But the line is less important for its literal than its symbolic meaning. On one level, the lantern shows how far Blanche has fallen: she's gone from a wealthy, cultured upbringing to owning nothing but a piece of paper. Furthermore, throughout the play the paper lantern has signified Blanche’s mania for hiding reality in illusion and cloaking the harsh truth with fanciful stories. By thrusting the paper lantern at her, Stanley rips off Blanche’s final delusions and fantasy life.

The talcum bottles and paper lantern also symbolize the false effects of the theater itself. A stage set is created through illusions and magic, and it provides an escape from the real world. When Blanche exits, the play ends: she is the glue that holds the illusion of the play itself together. 

Whoever you are—I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.

Related Characters: Blanche DuBois (speaker), Doctor
Page Number: 178
Explanation and Analysis:

Blanche’s final line in the play demonstrates that she has fully descended into madness. Stanley and Stella have realized that Blanche has lost her grip on reality, and they commit her to a mental institution. Blanche deludes herself into believing that her long-lost lover, Shep, is coming to sweep her away. When she realizes that the doctor and the matron from the asylum are the ones escorting her out of the apartment, Blanche initially puts up a struggle, and the matron grabs her roughly. But when the doctor treats Blanche more gently, offering his arm as though he were a suitor, rather than a doctor, Blanche relaxes back into her delusion, playing the part of a genteel Southern belle.

Blanche’s final line is poignant because of its apparent innocence. Her surrender to faith in others has a religious tinge to it as well: Blanche submits herself to a higher power. Blanche is also playing a very melodramatic part here. She casts herself as a martyr figure, relying on the kind nature of others. Yet the statement further demonstrates that Blanche does need psychiatric help, as she cannot understand her own delusions and does not know the difference between dream and reality. Blanche’s pronouncement line also underscores Stella’s guilt regarding the treatment of her sister. Stella knows that she has to deceive Blanche in order to help both herself and her family, but Stella also feels as though she is betraying Blanche by sending her away. 

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Blanche DuBois Character Timeline in A Streetcar Named Desire

The timeline below shows where the character Blanche DuBois appears in A Streetcar Named Desire. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Scene 1
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Blanche DuBois comes around the corner, looking distinctly out of place: dressed in white and fluttering... (full context)
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Eunice lets Blanche into the Kowalskis’ flat and tries to make small talk about what Stella has mentioned... (full context)
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Blanche perches uncomfortably as she looks around the dim, messy apartment. There are two rooms in... (full context)
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Stella bursts into the apartment, and she and Blanche embrace excitedly. Blanche speaks with a feverish hysteria and lets her criticism about the dingy... (full context)
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Stella’s quietness makes Blanche anxious that Stella isn’t glad to see her, but Stella reassures her to the contrary.... (full context)
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Blanche worries that Stanley will not like her and that she will have no privacy from... (full context)
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Blanche bursts out that she has lost Belle Reve, and, with steadily mounting hysteria, she recalls... (full context)
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Outside, the men return from bowling and discuss their plans for poker the following evening. Blanche nervously flutters around the apartment as they speak. Stanley enters, exuding raw, animalistic, sexual energy,... (full context)
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Stanley pulls off his sweaty shirt in front of Blanche, asking her about being an English teacher in Mississippi. Stella is still in the bathroom.... (full context)
Scene 2
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It is the next day, at six o’clock in the evening. Blanche is taking a bath offstage. Stella tells Stanley that she and Blanche are going out... (full context)
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...the loss of Belle Reve. Insistent on seeing papers from the sale, Stanley insinuates that Blanche’s hysteria is a cover-up and that she has swindled Stella out of the money from... (full context)
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Stanley thrusts open Blanche’s trunk and digs through her clothes, searching for the bill of sale. He thinks that... (full context)
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Blanche emerges from the bath in a red satin robe and lightly closes the curtains to... (full context)
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...by yelling bluntly, “Now let’s cut the re-bop!” Stella rushes in to play peacemaker, but Blanche sends her to the drugstore to buy her a Coke. Rejecting Blanche’s flirtatiousness, Stanley demands... (full context)
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Blanche hands Stanley all the papers from Belle Reve, and he realizes that that the estate... (full context)
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Stella returns from the drugstore, and Blanche greets her exuberantly, flushed with the news of her pregnancy. The men begin to arrive... (full context)
Scene 3
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Stella and Blanche return, and Blanche powders her face before entering the apartment. Stella tries to make introductions,... (full context)
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Blanche is about to take a bath when Mitch emerges from the bathroom. Mitch is sheepish... (full context)
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Stanley yells at Blanche and Stella to be quiet. Blanche turns on the radio, but Stanley turns it off... (full context)
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Blanche and Mitch discuss his sick mother, and as they smoke Mitch’s cigarettes, Blanche reads the... (full context)
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As Stella comes out of the bathroom, Blanche turns the radio back on, and she and Mitch clumsily begin to dance. Stanley leaps... (full context)
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Blanche rushes downstairs, confused and frantic. Mitch appears and tells her not to worry, that this... (full context)
Scene 4
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The next morning, Stella lies tranquilly in bed when Blanche, wild from a sleepless night, comes in. Blanche is relieved to find Stella safe, but... (full context)
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Blanche, still frantic, says that she recently ran into an old beau of hers, Shep Huntleigh,... (full context)
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Stella says that Blanche saw Stanley at his worst, but Blanche replies that she saw him at his best.... (full context)
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Blanche bursts into a rant against Stanley, calling him an ape-like, bestial creature. “There’s even something––sub-human”... (full context)
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...noise, Stanley slips out and re-enters. Stella leaps into his arms, and Stanley grins at Blanche as the “blue piano” music swells in the background. (full context)
Scene 5
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Stella and Blanche are in the bedroom. Blanche laughs at a letter she is writing to Shep Huntleigh... (full context)
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Stanley and Blanche make tense conversation: she attempts to banter lightly, while he is more than usually brusque.... (full context)
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Stanley asks if Blanche knows anyone named Shaw in Laurel. Blanche blanches, but tries not to show her anxiety.... (full context)
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Blanche frantically asks Stella what people in town have been saying about her. Blanche admits that... (full context)
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Stella hands Blanche a Coke and tells her not to talk so morbidly. Blanche asks for a shot... (full context)
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Stella worriedly asks Blanche why she overreacted to the stain, and Blanche claims that she is nervous about her... (full context)
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Stanley comes around the corner and bellows for Eunice, Steve, and Stella. Stella tells Blanche that everything will work out, and she runs off to join Stanley at the bar... (full context)
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As Blanche waits for Mitch, a Young Man arrives, collecting subscriptions for the Evening Star newspaper. Blanche... (full context)
Scene 6
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It is two o’clock in the morning. Blanche and Mitch have just returned from an amusement park. Blanche is clearly exhausted, and both... (full context)
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Blanche invites Mitch in for a night-cap. She lights candles and suggests that they pretend to... (full context)
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Mitch lifts Blanche up, declaring her “light as a feather,” and, while his hands are around her waist,... (full context)
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When Mitch asks where Stanley and Stella are, Blanche explains that they are out with Eunice and Steve. Mitch suggests that they all go... (full context)
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Blanche launches into a somewhat hysterical rant against Stanley, and also bemoans her impoverished state. Mitch... (full context)
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Blanche says she understands about being lonely. She tells Mitch about her first husband: she married... (full context)
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Mitch approaches her and embraces her, saying that they both need someone. As they kiss, Blanche sobs, “Sometimes––there’s God––so quickly!” (full context)
Scene 7
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...is an afternoon in mid-September. Stanley comes into the kitchen to find Stella decorating for Blanche’s birthday. Blanche is taking yet another bath to soothe her nerves, which Stanley mocks. Throughout... (full context)
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Stanley sits Stella down to tell her all the details he has heard about Blanche. Shaw, a supply man for his company who travels to Laurel frequently, has supplied Stanley... (full context)
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Stanley also reports that Blanche was not taking a leave of absence from school on account of her nerves, but... (full context)
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Stella is dazed. At first, she doesn’t believe Stanley, making the excuse that Blanche has always been “flighty.” She explains away some of Blanche’s psychological instability on account of... (full context)
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Stanley says that he has bought a one-way bus ticket for Blanche to go back to Laurel. Then he bellows at Blanche to get out of the... (full context)
Scene 8
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Stanley, Stella, and Blanche are finishing the dismal birthday supper. There is an empty fourth place at the table,... (full context)
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Blanche rushes to the phone to call Mitch, even though Stella tells her not to. Stella... (full context)
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Stella goes inside and begins lighting the candles on Blanche’s birthday cake. Blanche and Stanley join her. Blanche reproaches herself for calling Mitch. Stanley complains... (full context)
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The telephone rings, and Blanche expects that it is Mitch, but it is one of Stanley’s friends. When Stanley returns,... (full context)
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The Varsouviana polka rises in the background. Blanche tries to smile and laugh, but she crumples and rushes into the bathroom, gagging. Stella... (full context)
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Stella demands to know why Stanley has been so cruel to Blanche. He says that Stella thought that he was common until he took her off her... (full context)
Scene 9
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It is later that night. Blanche is sitting in her red satin robe in the bedroom. The Varsouviana polka music can... (full context)
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Mitch, unshaven and disheveled, rings the doorbell. The polka stops. Blanche hurriedly puts on powder and perfume and hides the liquor before letting Mitch in. She... (full context)
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Mitch asks Blanche to turn off the fan. She offers him a drink. Mitch says that he doesn’t... (full context)
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Blanche pretends to happen upon the liquor bottle in the closet and pretends that she doesn’t... (full context)
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Blanche asks Mitch what’s on his mind. Mitch says that he’s never seen Blanche in the... (full context)
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Mitch stares Blanche in the face. He says that he doesn’t mind her being older than he’d thought,... (full context)
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At first, Blanche declares that all three men made up the stories out of revenge. But as she... (full context)
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Blanche gives a tortured, almost hallucinatory soliloquy about Belle Reve and the camp of soldiers stationed... (full context)
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Mitch begins to embrace Blanche, but Blanche insists that he marry her first. Mitch drops his hands, saying that she... (full context)
Scene 10
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It is still later that night. Blanche has been drinking steadily since Mitch left. She has dressed herself in a white satin... (full context)
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Stanley enters the apartment, slams the door, and gives a low whistle when he sees Blanche. Stanley is also drunk. He says that the baby won’t come until morning, so the... (full context)
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Stanley asks Blanche why she is so dressed up. Blanche says that an admirer of hers, Shep Huntleigh,... (full context)
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...the foam pour over his head. He suggests that they both celebrate their good news. Blanche declines the drink, but Stanley stays in high spirits. To mark the special occasion, he... (full context)
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Blanche continues to gush about Shep, exclaiming that he is a cultivated gentleman, as opposed to... (full context)
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Blanche claims that Mitch had arrived that night with roses to beg her forgiveness. Stanley asks... (full context)
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Stanley mocks Blanche for dressing up in her glitzy attire, saying that he’s been on to her from... (full context)
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Blanche wildly rushes into the kitchen to the telephone to call Shep Huntleigh, but since she... (full context)
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Stanley grins at Blanche and replaces the phone on the hook. He steps between Blanche and the door. Blanche,... (full context)
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Stanley continues to advance toward Blanche. She smashes a bottle on the table and waves the broken end of the top... (full context)
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The bottle top falls. Blanche sinks to her knees. Stanley picks up her limp body and carries her to the... (full context)
Scene 11
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It is several weeks later. Stella is packing Blanche’s things. Blanche is in the bath. The men are playing poker in the kitchen, where... (full context)
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Eunice tells Stella that the baby is asleep upstairs, and the woman discuss Blanche. Stella says that they have told Blanche that they have made arrangements for her to... (full context)
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Stella tells Eunice that she couldn’t believe Blanche’s story about being raped by Stanley, since if she believed it, she couldn’t go on... (full context)
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Blanche peeks out to check that the men won’t see her when she comes out of... (full context)
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Upon hearing Blanche’s voice, Mitch’s face and arms sag, and he lapses into a daydream. Stanley yells at... (full context)
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Eunice offers Blanche a grape, and Blanche launches into an odd, hallucinatory monologue about perishing at sea by... (full context)
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The Doctor rings the doorbell. Eunice answers and announces that a gentleman is calling for Blanche, but Blanche says that she is not quite ready yet. The polka plays faintly in... (full context)
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When Eunice mentions a “they,” Blanche grows more nervous. Eunice says a plainly dressed lady is also with Shep. Blanche is... (full context)
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When Blanche sees the Doctor, not Shep, she retreats back to the apartment, frightened. They all stand... (full context)
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The Doctor sends the Matron in to grab Blanche. The Matron advances on one side, Stanley on the other. The Matron and Stanley’s voice... (full context)
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Stanley says that the only thing Blanche could have forgotten is the paper lantern. He rips it off the bare bulb and... (full context)
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The Matron has seized Blanche. She asks the Doctor if Blanche needs a straitjacket, but the Doctor says, “It won’t... (full context)
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Blanche and the Doctor walk out of the house and around the corner. Stella cries out,... (full context)