A Streetcar Named Desire

Scene 6 At the end of scene 6, Blanch is confiding in Mitch by telling him the story of how her husband died. How did he die? What events led to his death?

Scene 6 At the end of scene 6, Blanch is confiding in Mitch by telling him the story of how her husband died.  How did he die?  What events led to his death?

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The main point of this scene is the speech about Allan and the darkness he introduced into Blanche's happy young life. The light and darkness imagery burns brightly through this speech, as Blanche compares her new love to a blinding light – something so bright that you can't actually see it at all. And this was the case with Allan, who she loved so completely and instantly that she did not realize he was gay until it was too late.

After Blanche confronts Allan, he shoots himself. As she recounts this story, we hear the polka, the Varsouviana, from the dance hall, which was playing during the scene she remembers. We are now inside her head, and the heightened unreality of the play begins to take hold. The auditory hallucination represents her guilt and obsession, and her inability to escape the past. But we hear it too, and this shared hallucination implicates us in the disintegration of Blanche's reality.

The music stops with the gunshot – she is not just remembering but reliving, and the death of her husband stopped the music in the dance hall but also stopped the music in her life. "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." Allan's death shrouded Blanche's life in darkness, both the kind that sucks out happiness and leaves only despair, but also the kind that she hides in to avoid the flicker of the unforgiving light. She retreated into herself after this trauma, cloaking her fragile mind with shadows and delusions, and only sneaking out to find comfort in the embrace of strangers, to allow her to feel something that was alive.