Throughout A Streetcar Named Desire, Williams includes different areas of Blanche to help shape the audiences perception of her. However this quotation by Williams clearly shows the way that he wants Blanche to be seen by the audience, and when I look at the text, it is obvious that there are reasons that I agree and disagree with what Williams is saying. For instance Blanche always seems concerned about getting old by the way she lies about her age. But there is also the very independent side of Blanche’s character that shows she is completely sane.
Williams proves his point about Blanche’s character during the play by teaching the audience about her obsession with bathing. The playwright includes a line in the first scene of the play, “Not till I’ve bathed! ” This immediately shows that she is always worried about the way that she looks, and that she is not in the best condition. The reason she is so conscious about how she looks is because she is hoping to get married before she becomes old and unattractive.
This becomes evident in the way that she lies about her age in scene VIII when she tells Stanley, “when you reach twenty seven! ” Blanche’s fascination with being clean also comes into the play when we hear her singing a song about her “make believe world” when she is in the bath during scene VI. This shows that her fantasy world becomes more real to her when she is bathing. Bathing is a way of Williams showing Blanche trying to wash away all the bad history in her life, as well as the corruption in her life such as her addiction to alcohol.
This is also evident during the final scene when Blanche says, “are the grapes washed? ” This shows that she is concerned about everything being clean and free of corruption. Blanche’s attraction to always being clean certainly agrees with what Williams said about her because it shows how reliant she is on looking her best and it also shows that she is more stable and happy when she is in a bath or recently out of one. Some areas in the play disagree with what Williams says about his protagonist, one of these is the way she stands up to Stanley.
During the second scene, the dramatist shows Blanche saying “Now the buttons! ” This shows her commanding Stanley even though she is in his home. By Williams’ showing Blanche standing up to Stanley like this, it shows that she can be a very powerful and independent woman. During the third scene, the audience witnesses Blanche talk back to Stanley during his poker night, which is very much a male domain. After Blanche gets inside the house, she turns on the music and then says, “I did, do you mind? “.
This again shows Blanche’s courage and willingness to anger Stanley in order to stick up for herself or her sister. This area of Blanche disagrees with Williams’ statement regarding Blanche because it shows that she is very capable of standing up for herself. The playwright includes Blanche’s fear of being exposed by light in order to prove his comments about her. Williams introduces Blanche’s fear of light early on in the play, during the very first scene.
Blanche is given the line, “Turn that off! This immediately shows that Blanche is very self conscious and not that all stable because she is afraid of reality. Williams also shows Blanche’s fear of exposure during the make believe song in scene VII. “Say it’s only a paper moon. ” This can be linked to Mitch’s unveiling of the paper lantern in scene IX. This reveals her fear of being revealed to the light. This constant threat by Blanche towards light is because she does not like the reality that the light shows. This fear of strong light is ironic because Blanche is very much attracted to limelight.
During the poker night in scene three, the stage directions show Blanche “take off her blouse… through the portieres” This shows that she wants to be seen when she is wearing a more promiscuous outfit . This attraction to limelight is why the original idea of the play’s name by Williams was ‘The Moth’. This whole idea of Blanche always avoiding direct contact with light goes with Williams’ evaluation of his leading lady. Another reason why I could disagree with Williams’ statement is the way he shows Blanche attempt to take Stella away from Stanley at times.
During the third scene, Blanche says the line “We’ll go to that woman’s upstairs! ” This shows that even in the different circumstances, she is very happy to try and take her sister away from Stanley even though he is very vulnerable at the time. This disagrees with what Williams says about Blanche because it shows that she has tremendous willpower, because at the time the play was written, men were very much dominant over woman so for Blanche to stand up to a character like Stanley proves that she is not weak.
This side of Blanche disagrees with Williams’ assessment about his central character; because it shows that she is quite an independent and brave woman. During the play Williams uses Blanche’s alcohol addiction to help portray his views about her, and show how weak and pitiful she really his. Williams uses stage directions to help and portray this addiction very early on in the play. During the opening scene, the stage directions state that Blanche “carefully replaces the bottle. ” This shows that she is very self conscious about drinking, and is very adamant about hiding her problem from her sister.
The fact that she hides the bottle really makes it stands out to the audience that she has had an unhealthy history regarding liquor. The most likely scenario would have been that Stella would not have been bothered if Blanche had been honest because it is understandable for Blanche to want a drink. I would say that this agrees with what Williams says about his protagonist, because it shows that she is very dependant on alcohol helping to create the fantasy world that she even admits to liking more than the truth in scene IX when she says “I don’t want realism.
During the time that the play was written, there were no groups and societies to help people manage to get through their addictions, so willpower was needed even more to stay away from getting caught up in a bad drinking habit. I believe that Williams includes Blanche’s compulsion with alcohol to prove that his analysis of Blanche is correct. Throughout A Streetcar Named Desire, Williams includes many reasons that you could argue for and against what he claimed about Blanche, but he also shows why and how she could have ended up the way that he believes she is, and this is largely due to her young love.
Towards the end of the sixth scene, Blanche explains what an audience can only see as the truth about her failed relationship. What we hear from Blanche does seem to be quite a traumatic experience. However Blanche does suffer more because of the fact she blames herself entirely for causing Allan’s death, even though I believe that he was always a homosexual and was destined to head downhill because he was living a life that was deemed wrong to society.
The experience must have been a horrifying one for Blanche because at the time, homosexuality was much more discriminated against, at one stage even Stella refers to the boy as a ‘degenerate’. Williams also puts in a stage direction in scene VI to help emphasise Blanche’s story. The ‘locomotive’ that is heard is a reminder of the streetcar that Blanche took, which was called desire, so the noise shows how desire has lead to Allan’s death and Blanche’s downfall. Blanche also goes on about the ‘varsouvian’ music that the couple danced to on the night she lost her young love.
The music is in the stage directions in the last scene, “The Varsouviana is playing distantly. ” This shows that the music appears to haunt her, which further illustrates her mental collapse. This music is also brought up during other stages of the play and is used to remind the audience and Blanche about the young boy, and it shows that she is not mentally stable but it also shows why. This loss of Allan has proved to be what leads to Blanche being the way she is, it is also used by Williams to help the audience feel sympathy towards her.
So all in all, I would say that I agree with Williams’ assessment about Blanche to a very large extent but not entirely. Throughout the play we notice that she is very self-conscious and always looking to live in a world, blind of the truth. However Williams instils a feeling of independence in Blanche by showing her standing to Stanley and sticking up for her little sister. Nevertheless I do not feel that this independence and bravery is enough to convince me that she is not weak, pitiful and almost a head case.