A Streetcar Named Desire

Portrayal of Blanche Dubois in Scene 6 11th Grade

The protagonist of A Streetcar Named Desire, Blanche Dubois, is a fallen southern Belle whose troubled life results in the deterioration of her mental health. She has just returned from a date with Mitch and their conversation turns to her past. This topic is extremely important in shaping our understanding of Blanche as a character; her present circumstances, as well as the way she acts in the play, are very strongly influenced by her past. Through carefully chosen language and key symbols, Williams highlights several aspects of this in scene 6.

Blanche begins by asserting ‘You have a great capacity for devotion’, which could either be construed as perceptive and an indication of how well she is getting to know Mitch, or as manipulative flattery, attempting to draw attention to his need for her. Williams reinforces the latter through her next question: ‘You will be lonely when she passes on, won’t you?’. The syntax of this sentence, a statement followed by a question, seems leading and manipulative; Blanche clearly wants him to believe that he will be lonely so that he pursues her more urgently, perhaps more out of her need for his provision and stability than out of love and desire for him.


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