American Literature books summary

In America in the early years of the 18th century, some writers, such as Cotton Mather, carried on the older

American Literature books summary

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g back, with roses and apologies, but in vain. She cannot forgive "deliberate cruelty," and realistically the two of them are too difierent in attitude and upbringing for it ever to work.

Stanley cuts in with a question that trips up her improvisation. Then he launches an attack, tearing down her make-believe world point by point. She can make no reply but, "Oh!" He finishes with a disdainful laugh and walks through the bedroom on into the bathroom. Frightening shadows and re ections appear in the room. Blanche goes to the phone and tries to make a call to her "admirer." She does not know his number or his address. The operator hangs up; Blanche leaves the phone off the hook and walks into the kitchen.

The special efiects continue: inhuman voices, terrifying shadows. A strange scene takes place on a sidewalk beyond the back wall of the rooms (which has suddenly become transparent). A drunkard and a prostitute scufie until a police whistle sounds and they disappear. Soon thereafter the Negro woman comes around the corner ri ing through the prostitute's purse.

Blanche returns to the phone and whispers to the operator to connect her to Western Union. She tries to send a telegraph: "In desperate, desperate circumstances. Help me! Caught in a trap. Caught in{".... She breaks off when Stanley emerges from the bathroom in his special pajamas. He stares at her, grinning. Then crosses over to the phone and replaces it on the hook.

Still grinning, he steps between Blanche and the door. She asks him to move and he takes one step to the side. She asks him to move further away but he will not. The jungle voices well up again as he slowly advances towards her. Blanche tells him to stay back but he continues towards her. She backs away, grabs a bottle, and smashes the end of it on the table. He jumps at her, grabs her arm when she swings at him, and forces her to drop the bottle.

"We've had this date from the beginning," he says. She sinks to her knees. He picks her up and carries her to the bed.

Scene 11 Summary

A few weeks later. Stella is packing Blanche's belongings while Blanche takes a bath. Stella has been crying. The men are assembled in the kitchen playing poker. Of them, only Mitch does not seem to be in the usual card-playing bull and bravado mood. Eunice comes downstairs and enters the apartment.

Eunice calls them callous and goes over to Stella. Stella tells Eunice she is not sure she did the right thing. She told Blanche that they had arranged for her to stay in the country, and Blanche seemed to think it had to do with her millionaire admirer. Stella couldn't believe the story Blanche told her about the rape and still continue her life with Stanley. Eunice comforts her.

It was the only thing Stella could do, and she should never believe the story. "Life has got to go on," Eunice says.

The men continue playing poker. Blanche emerges from the bathroom to the strains of the by-now familiar waltz. Stella and Eunice are gentle and complimenting; Blanche has a slightly unhinged vivacity. The sound of Blanche's voice sends Mitch into a daydream until Stanley snaps him out of it. Stanley's voice from the kitchen stuns Blanche. She remains still for a few moments, then with a rising hysteria demands to know what is going on. The women quiet and soothe her and the men restrain Stanley from interfering.

She is appeased for the moment, but anxious to leave. The other women convince her to wait a moment yet. Blanche goes into a reverie, imagining her death at sea from food poisoning with a handsome young ship's doctor at her side.

The doctor and nurse arrive. Eunice goes to see who's at the door. Blanche waits tensely, hoping that it is Shep Huntleigh, her millionaire savior. Eunice returns and announces that someone is calling for Blanche. The waltz begins again. Blanche and Stella pass through the kitchen and cross to the door. The poker players stand as she passes, except for Mitch, who stares at the table. When Blanche steps out onto the porch and sees the doctor, and not Shep Huntleigh, she retreats to where Stella is standing, then slips back into the apartment. Inside, Stanley steps up to block her way. Blanche rushes around him, claiming she forgot something, as the weird re ections and shadows return. The doctor sends the nurse in after her. What follows is a wrenching capture scene, which Stella cannot bear to watch. She rushes to the porch, where Eunice goes to comfort her. The nurse succeeds in pinning Blanche. The doctor enters, and at Blanche's soft request tells the nurse to release her. The doctor leads her out of the bedroom, she holding onto his arm.

"Whoever you are," she says, "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers." The doctor leads her through the kitchen as the poker players look on. They head out the door and onto the porch. Stella, now crouched on the porch in agony, calls out her sister's name. Blanche, allowing herself to be led onward, does not turn to look at Stella. Doctor, nurse, and Blanche turn the corner and disappear. Eunice brings the baby to Stella and thrusts it into her arms, then goes to the kitchen to join the men. Stanley goes out onto the porch and over to Stella, who sobs over her child. He comforts her and begins to caress her. In the kitchen, Steve deals a new hand.

 

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