The Streetcar Named ”Desire”

The doctor and nurse arrive. Eunice goes to see who's at the door. Blanche waits tensely, hoping that it is

The Streetcar Named ”Desire”



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ople have been saying. Stella doesn't know what she's talking about. Blanche admits she was not "so good" the last two years, as she was losing Belle Reve. She quite lucidly describes herself as soft, dependent, reliant on Chinese lanterns and light colors. She admits that she no longer has the youth or beauty to glow in the soft light. Stella doesn't want to hear her talk like this.

Stella brings Blanche a drink. She likes to wait on Blanche; it reminds her of their childhood. Blanche becomes hysterical, promising to leave soon, before Stanley throws her out. Stella calms her for a moment, but when she accidentally spills her drink slightly on her skirt, Blanche begins to shriek.

She is shaking and tries to laugh it off. At last she admits that she is nervous about her relationship with Mitch. She has been very prim and proper with him; she wants his respect, but doesn't want him to lose interest. She wants him very badly, needs him as a stabilizing force. Stella assures her that it will happen. She kisses her older sister and runs off to meet Stanley.

Blanche sits alone in the apartment and waits. A young man comes to the door collecting for the newspaper. Blanche irts with him, offers him a drink, and generally works her wiles. The young man is very nervous and would like to leave. Blanche declares that he looks like an Arabian prince.

She kisses him on the lips then sends him on his way. "I've got to be good," she says, "and keep my hands off children." A few moments later, Mitch appears with a bunch of roses. She accepts them irtatiously while he glows.

Scene 6 Summary

Two a.m. the same night. Blanche and Mitch appear. She is exhausted, he seems a bit depressed. Mitch apologizes for not giving her much entertainment this evening, but Blanche says it was her fault. She reveals that she will be leaving soon. They discuss a goodnight kiss and the other night by the lake when Mitch tried for a bit more "familiarity." Blanche explains that a single girl must keep her urges under control or else she is "lost." Perhaps he is used to woman who like to be lost on the first date. Mitch says he likes her simply because she is difierent from anyone he has ever met. Blanche laughs and invites him in for a nightcap.

Blanche lights a candle and prepares drinks. Mitch remains standing awkwardly. He won't take his coat off because he's embarrassed about his perspiration. They discuss Mitch's imposing physique, her slighter one, and this leads to a brief and somewhat clumsy embrace. Blanche stops him, claiming she has "old-fashioned ideals" (she rolls her eyes as she offers this gem, but he cannot see her face). After an awkward silence, Mitch asks where Stanley and Stella are, and why the four of them never go out together.

Blanche expresses her conviction that Stanley hates her. Mitch thinks that Stanley simply doesn't understand her. Blanche knows it's more than that, that he wants to destroy her.

Mitch asks Blanche how old she is. He has told his ailing mother about Blanche, but could not tell her how old Blanche was. His mother is not long for the world and wants to see him settled. Blanche says she understands how he will miss his mother when she's gone. She understands what it is to be lonely. She gives a revealing account of what happened with the tender young man she married. She loved him terribly but somehow it didn't seem to be enough to save him from whatever it was that tormented him. Then one day she came home to find her young husband in bed with an older man who had been his longtime friend. At first they all pretended nothing happened.

They went out to a casino together, the three of them. On the dance floor she drunkenly confronted him, telling him he disgusted her. Then the boy rushed out of the casino and everyone heard a shot. He killed himself.

Mitch comes to her and holds her, comforting her. "You need somebody. And I need somebody, too," he says. "Could it be{you and me, Blanche?" They kiss, even as she sobs. "Sometimes{there's God{so quickly," she says.

Scene 7 Summary

Late afternoon, mid-September. Stella is decorating for Blanche's birthday. Stanley comes in. Blanche is in the bathroom, bathing, and Stanley mocks her to Stella. He tells Stella to sit down and listen because he's got the dirt on Blanche now. As Blanche, unconcerned, sings "It's Only a Paper Moon," Stanley gleefully recounts to Stella how Blanche earned a notorious reputation at the Flamingo hotel and was asked to leave (presumably for immoral behavior unacceptable even by the standards of that establishment).

She came to be regarded as "nuts" by the town and was declared 'off-limits' to soldiers at a nearby base. She was not given a leave of absence by her school; she was kicked out for having a relationship with a seventeen-year-old boy.

Stella defends her sister. She's not convinced this story is true{certainly not all of it. Stanley tells Stella not to expect Mitch for the birthday dinner. He has told Mitch all he heard, and there's no way Mitch will marry her now.

Stanley has bought Blanche a birthday present: a one-way bus ticket back to Laurel, Mississippi. He yells at Blanche to get out of the bathroom. She emerges at last, in high spirits. But Stanley's face as he passes by gives her a fright. And the dazed way that Stella responds to her chatter alerts her that something is wrong. She asks Stella what has happened, but Stella can only feebly lie that nothing has.

Scene 8 Summary

Three quarters of an hour later, the birthday dinner is winding down. The place set for Mitch is empty. It has obviously been a strained meal. Blanche tries to break the gloomy silence by asking Stanley to tell a story. He declines. So Blanche tells one herself- -a lame joke involving a priest and a swearing parrot. Stanley pointedly does not laugh. Instead, he reaches across the table for a chop and eats it with his fingers. Stella scolds him. He smashes his plate, declares that he is sick and tired of being called "pig Polack disgusting vulgar greasy!" He is the king of this house. He smashes his cup and saucer and storms out onto the porch. Blanche again asks Stella what happened while she was taking a bath. What did Stanley tell Stella about her? Nothing, Stella says, but she is clearly upset.

Although Stella implores her not to, Blanche calls Mitch's house to find out why he stood her up. Mitch is not home. Stella goes to Stanley out on the porch. They embrace, and Stanley promises her things will be all right again after the baby comes and Blanche leaves. Stella goes back inside and lights the candles. Blanche and Stanley join her. Stanley's patent ill will produces another tense exchange with Blanche. One of Stanley's bowling buddies calls up. While he's on the phone, Stanley unnecessarily yells at Blanche to be quiet. She tries her best to control her nerves. Stanley returns to the table, and with a thin veneer of kindness offers Blanche a birthday envelope. She is surprised and delighted|until she opens it and Stanley declares its contents: a one-way ticket back to Laurel, Mississippi on a Greyhound bus, leaving Tuesday.

Blanche tries to smile, tries to laugh, runs to the bedroom, and then to the bathroom, clutching her throat and making gagging noises, as if Stanley's cruelty has literally taken her breath away. Stanley, pleased with himself and his just actions (considering, he says, "all I took off her"), prepares to go bowling. But Stella demands to know why Stanley has treated Blanche so callously. He reminds her that Stella thought he was common when they first met, but that he took her off her pedestal and things were wonderful until Blanche arrived. While he speaks, a sudden change comes over Stella.

She slowly shufies from the bedroom to the kitchen, then quietly asks to be taken to the hospital. Stanley is with her in an instant, speaking softly as he leads her out the door.

Scene 9 Summary

Later the same evening, a scarlet-robed Blanche sits tensely on a bedroom chair. On a nearby table are a bottle of liquor and a glass. We hear polka music, but not from the radio: it's playing in her own head. She is drinking, we are told in the stage directions, not to think about impending disaster.

Mitch appears in work clothes, unshaven, making no attempt to play the gentleman caller. He rings the doorbell and startles Blanche. She asks who it is, and when he replies, the polka music stops. She frantically scurries about, applying powder to her face, stashing the liquor in a closet, before letting him in with a cheerful reprimand. Mitch walks right past her proffered lips into the apartment. Blanche is frightened but takes it in stride. She continues in her light and airy mode, scolding him for his appearance and forgiving him in the same breath. Mitch stares at her, clearly a bit drunk. He asks her to turn off the fan; she does so. She offers him a drink, but Mitch doesn't want Stanley's liquor. She backs off, but the polka music begins again. It's the same tune that was played, she says out loud, when Allen (her husband)...She breaks off, waiting for the gunshot. It comes, and the music subsides. Mitch has no idea what she's talking about.

Blanche goes to the closet and pretends to discover the bottle. She takes her charade so far as to ask out loud what Southern Comfort is. Mitch does not bite, but bides his time, getting up the nerve to say what he has come to say. Blanche tells Mitch to take his foot off the bed, and goes on about the liquor. Mitch aga

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