A Streetcar Named Desire: An analysis and evaluation on the ways in which Williams presents Blanche as a doomed or tragic figure- (Scenes 1 & 2)

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Blanche Dubois is a wealthy, upper-class, old-style American woman, from Mississippi, who has come to a rough part of New Orleans to stay with her sister, Stella. Before we even get to know anything about Blanche, from her first appearance we get a good impression of her vulnerability and implied innocence. Williams proposes that Blanche wears clothes that suggest delicateness, such as a white suit with a “fluffy bodice”, and Blanche is described as being uncertain, like a “moth”. Williams also mentions that Blanches’ “delicate beauty” should avoid a harsh, strong light. As moths are seen as being silky and soft, yet vulnerable to touch, and also dangerously attracted to bright lights, this fits in well with Blanche’s character. We learn throughout the first few scenes of the play, that Blanche is very delicate and vulnerable, and seems doomed to be burnt to a crisp by the “bright lights” of New Orleans. In the common, simple place Elysian Fields is, Blanche seems very incongruous, and completely out of place. She is dressed incorrectly for the place she is in. Blanche’s body language also suggests an ambiguous manner- she sits completely upright very stiffly, with her shoulders slightly hunched and her legs pressed close together. She seems very nervous and cautious, and clutches her purse as though her life depended on it. Williams has purposely made her laugh nervously a lot, and seems to lie about herself a lot to her sister. She is an obvious alcoholic, but seems to resent this fact, and tries very hard to keep this from Stella. There is also a lot of symbolism in everything about how Blanche is described. For example, Blanches’ name means “White Woods”, and it is surely not just a coincidence that her surname (Dubois) is so close to a word meaning uncertain (dubious). Blanche herself seems keen to refer to her name, and nature, and “Orchard in Spring”, to

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