- Slides: 9
Why does Williams include this? What is he reminding us of? What does it suggest about Blanche and Mitch’s date? A Streetcar Named Desire BLANCHE: [laughing grimly] ‘Is that streetcar named Desire still grinding along the tracks at this hour? ’
AO 3: Blanche is referencing the novel La Dame aux Camellias by Alexandre Dumas. The heroine is a high-class Parisian call girl. How many significant images can you find? What do they tell us? Blanche: appearance and reality BLANCHE: We are going to be very Bohemian. We are going to pretend that we are sitting in a little artists' cafe on the Left Bank in Paris! [She lights a candle stub and puts it in a bottle. ] Le suis la Dame aux Camellias! Vous etes--Armand! Understand French? MITCH [heavily]: Naw. I-BLANCHE: Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir? Vous ne comprenez pas? Ah, auelle dommage!--I mean it's a damned good thing. . I've found some liquor. Just enough for two shots without any dividends, honey. . . MITCH [heavily]: Thats--good. [She enters the bedroom with the drinks and the candle]
1. Blanche’s play acting is a prelude to a dramatic change of mood when she and Mitch talk seriously. 2. It also stresses her need for make-believe situations to deal with the reality of her own life. Blanche: appearance and reality BLANCHE: We are going to be very Bohemian. We are going to pretend that we are sitting in a little artists' cafe on the Left Bank in Paris! [She lights a candle stub and puts it in a bottle. ] Le suis la Dame aux Camellias! Vous etes--Armand! Understand French? MITCH [heavily]: Naw. I-BLANCHE: Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir? Vous ne comprenez pas? Ah, auelle dommage!--I mean it's a damned good thing. . I've found some liquor. Just enough for two shots without any dividends, honey. . . MITCH [heavily]: Thats--good. [She enters the bedroom with the drinks and the candle]
e– v a h I t a th t s ju ’s it s s e ‘I gu rolls e h [S !’ ls a e id d e n io h old fas t he her eyes, knowing tha ] cannot see her face… ‘He hates me. Or why would he insult me? Of course, there is such a thing as the hostility of– perhaps in some perverse way he– no! To think of it makes me…’ [She makes a face of revulsion] Blanche: appearance and reality h an t i w s k a e p ] [Blanche s s s e n e r u m f de o n o i t a t c e f af
[A locomotive is heard approaching outside. She claps her hands to her ears and crouches over. The headlight of the locomotive glares into the room as it thunders past. As the noise recedes she straightens slowly and continues speaking. ] Afterwards we pretended that nothing had been discovered. Yes, the three of us drove out to Moon Lake Casino, very drunk and laughing all the way. [Polka music sounds. In a minor key faint with distance. ] We danced the Varsouviana! Suddenly in the middle of the dance the boy I had married broke away from me and ran out of the casino. A few moments later--a shot! [The polka stops abruptly. ] [Blanche rises stiffly. Then, the polka resumes in a major key. ] I ran out--all did!--all ran and gathered about the terrible thing at the edge of the lake! I couldn't get near for the crowding. Then somebody caught my arm. "Don't go any closer! Come back! You don't want to see!" See? See what! Then I heard voices say--Allan! The Grey boy! He'd stuck the revolver into his mouth, and fired--so that the back of his head had been--blown away! [She sways and covers her face. ] It was because--on the dance-floor--unable to stop myself--I'd suddenly said--"I saw! I know! You disgust me. . . " And then the searchlight which had been turned on the world was turned off again and never for one moment since has there been any light that's stronger than this--kitchen--candle. . . Annotate for: language; character; theme; imagery; stage directions. Blanche: appearance and reality BLANCHE: He was a boy, just a boy, when I was a very young girl. When I was sixteen, I made the discovery--love. All at once and much, much too completely. It was like you suddenly turned a blinding light on something that had always been half in shadow, that's how it struck the world for me. But I was unlucky. Deluded. There was something different about the boy, a nervousness, a softness and tenderness which wasn't like a man's, although he wasn't the least bit effeminate looking--still--that thing was there. . He came to me for help. I didn't know that. I didn't find out anything till after our marriage when we'd run away and come back and all I knew was I'd failed him in some mysterious way and wasn't able to give the help he needed but couldn't speak of! He was in the quicksands and clutching at me--but I wasn't holding him out, I was slipping in with him! I didn't know that. I didn't know anything except I loved him unendurably but without being able to help him or help myself. Then I found out. In the worst of all possible ways. By coming suddenly into a room that I thought was empty--which wasn't empty, but had two people in it. . .
Does this hold more meaning for us now? Epigraph Revisited And so it was I entered the broken world To trace the visionary company of love, its voice An instant in the wind (I know not whither hurled) But not for long to hold each desperate choice. (Hart Crane, The Broken Tower)
This is an unusual thing for Blanche to say, although it is typical of the dramatic lines with which Williams ends his scenes. It is hopeful and perhaps a little grateful. She has confided in Mitch and it seems her honesty has been rewarded – however, how sure can we be that he has understood her fully? The reference to God is not typical of Blanche, who finds her comfort in men, not religion. Do you think Williams wants us to believe that Blanche could marry Mitch and live happily ever after? Blanche: appearance and reality ‘Sometimes – there’s God – so quickly!’