A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire Summary and Analysis of Scene 6

Scene 6

Late that night, Blanche and Mitch are returning home. She apologizes for having been a poor date that evening. Mitch asks if he may kiss her goodnight – he is unsure whether she wants him to kiss her, because she has discouraged him in the past. Mitch says he does not mind her prudishness, because she is unlike any other girl he has dated.

They enter the apartment and have a drink. Mitch is awkward and uncomfortable, sweating through his shirt. They flirt and Mitch tries to embrace her, but she begs him off, rolling her eyes when he can't see her face.

She asks whether Stanley has talked to Mitch about her, and Mitch says that Stanley doesn't understand her, but he doesn't think he hates her either. Mitch changes the subject and asks Blanche her age, on behalf of his mother. She avoids the question and asks about his mother, who wants to see Mitch settled soon so he won't be lonely when she dies.

Blanche begins to reminisce about her dead husband, Allan. She was unable to fill a need for him, and shortly after the wedding she caught him with an older male friend. On the dance floor that evening, she confronted him about what she'd seen, and he ran out of the hall and shot himself in the mouth.

At the end of her speech, Mitch comforts Blanche, saying that they both need somebody and perhaps they might be that somebody for each other, and he kisses her.


This is the only scene in the play in which we can observe that Blanche knows she is play-acting – for two brief moments, she "breaks character" and we can see her awareness of her hypocrisy and moonshine. At her own prudish behavior ,Blanche rolls her eyes, visible to the audience but not Mitch. And when she has determined that Mitch cannot speak French, she riskily asks that famous question, "Voulez-vous couches avec moi c'est soi?" - "Do you want to go to bed with me tonight?" But this scene is the first and last time she shows any awareness of playing a role, and what signifies her descent from illusion to delusion is her inability, in the last few scenes, to any longer distinguish between her game and reality

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.

Her speech also further ties together the dual themes of desire and death, but in what way? Does Allan's desire lead to his death? Or is the causal force Blanche's denial of that desire? Has she ridden the street-car named Desire to the end of its line and found no transfer except to Cemeteries, or does she reach Cemeteries precisely because she has decided to disembark from Desire?