Blanche in a Streetcar Named Desire

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Blanche, Stella's older sister, until recently a high school English teacher in Laurel, Mississippi. She arrives in New Orleans a loquacious, witty, arrogant, fragile, and ultimately crumbling figure. Blanche once was married to and passionately in love with a tortured young man. He killed himself after she discovered his homosexuality, and she has suffered from guilt and regret ever since. Blanche watched parents and relatives, all the old guard, die off, and then had to endure foreclosure on the family estate. Cracking under the strain, or perhaps yielding to urges so long suppressed that they now could no longer be contained, Blanche engages in a series of sexual escapades that trigger an expulsion from her community. In New Orleans she puts on the airs of a woman who has never known indignity, but Stanley sees through her. Her past catches up with her and destroys her relationship with Mitch. Stanley, as she fears he might, destroys what's left of her. At the end of the play she is led away to an insane asylum. This is indeed the story of what happened to Blanche in the play but what flaws in her own character were to blame for her subsequent tragedy. Blanche is by far the most complex character of the play. An intelligent and sensitive woman who values literature and the creativity of the human imagination, she is also emotionally traumatised and repressed. This gives license for her own imagination to become a haven for her pain. One senses that Blanches own view of her real self as opposed to her ideal self has been increasingly blurred over the years until it is sometimes difficult for her to tell the difference. It is a challenge to find the key to Blanche's melancholy but perhaps the roots of her trauma lie in her early marriage. She was haunted by her inability to help or understand her young, troubled husband and that she has tortured herself for it ever since. Her drive to lose herself in the "kindness of strangers" might also be understood from this...
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