Blanche Dubois

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How is the character of Blanche presented in Scenes 1 and 2 in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’? In ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’, Tennessee Williams presents Blanche DuBois as an extremely multifaceted character who represents both old and idealist values in America. Appearances are deceiving, and this is clearly shown through the character of Blanche in the play, as she puts on a smug and arrogant front to conceal her fragile personality. To ‘blanche’ something is to ‘drain it of colour’ and thus the image she portrays in Act 1 and 2 reflects this idea. Blanche appears in the first scene of the play dressed in white, which is a symbol of purity and innocence. Tennessee Williams has dressed her this way to exaggerate her frailness and delicate nature; this is the first of many examples of ‘Plastic Theatre’ used throughout the play. It is immediately apparent to the audience that Blanche is very judgmental and looks down on those who aren’t as fortunate as her. She criticises her own sister’s home:

“Stella, what are you doing in a place like that?”

She continues to insult Stella’s home and even Stella notices Blanche is being extremely overdramatic and offensive:

“Aren’t you being a little intense about it?”

It is clear that Blanche dominates the relationship between her and her sister, as she doesn’t let her get a word in edgeways. She totally relies on her appearance, and tells her sister not to look at her until she has ‘bathed and rested’. This shows how superficial Blanche is, as she concentrates on her appearance rather than her conversation with her sister in years. She is again condescending to her sister when she calls her a ‘messy child’. This suggests that Blanche thinks she is superior to Stella and her way of living. It is clear that Blanche is from a higher-class background.

When Blanche enters Stella’s home, she pours herself half a tumbler of Whiskey. This shocks the audience, as in the play so far she has presented herself as a dignified...
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