Blanche associates the polka with her young husband’s suicide. Blanche and her husband were dancing the polka when she lashed out at him for his homosexual behavior, and he left the dance floor and shot himself. The music plays when Blanche is reminded of her husband in specific or when she is particularly disturbed by the past in general. The polka continues until some event in the real world distracts her or until a gunshot goes off in her memory. Although the polka plays in Blanche’s mind, and she is the only character onstage who hears the tune, the audience also hears the polka when she hears it.
Varsouviana Polka Quotes in A Streetcar Named Desire
The A Streetcar Named Desire quotes below all refer to the symbol of Varsouviana Polka. 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: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the New Directions edition of A Streetcar Named Desire published in 2004.).
Varsouviana Polka Symbol Timeline in A Streetcar Named Desire
The timeline below shows where the symbol Varsouviana Polka appears in A Streetcar Named Desire. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...in Mississippi. Stella is still in the bathroom. When Stanley asks Blanche about her marriage, polka music plays faintly in the background. Blanche tells Stanley that “the boy died” and sinks... (full context)
...when she comes out of the bathroom. She appears in the red satin robe. The polka music plays in the background. Stella and Eunice murmur appreciatively over Blanche. Blanche asks if... (full context)