Why Is Mitch's Rejection of Blanche Like a Death Sentence for Her

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In the play, Blanche is already a fallen woman in society's eyes. Her family fortune and estate are gone, she lost her young husband to suicide years earlier, and she is a social pariah due to her indiscrete sexual behaviour. She has a bad drinking problem, which she covers up poorly. She lives in a state of perpetual panic about her fading beauty. She lives in a cocoon of unreality to protect herself against her weaknesses and shortcomings. To preserve her ego, she lies about her promiscuous behaviour in laurel; she shuns bright light, lest it reveal her physical imperfections. Blanche pretends to be a woman who has never known indignity. Blanche sees marriage as her only means of escaping her demons; the only way she can escape poverty and the bad reputation that haunts her. But because the chivalric Southern gentleman saviour and caretaker (represented by Shep Huntleigh) she hopes will rescue her is extinct, Blanche is left with no realistic possibility of future happiness. As Blanche sees it, Mitch is her only chance for contentment, even though he is far from her ideal Mitch does not fit the bill of the chivalric hero of whom Blanche dreams. He is clumsy, sweaty, and has unrefined interests like muscle building. Though sensitive, he lacks Blanche's romantic perspective and spirituality, as well as her understanding of poetry and literature. Though they come from completely different worlds, Mitch and Blanche are drawn together by their mutual need of companionship and support, and they therefore believe themselves right for one another. They also discover that they have both experienced the death of a loved one. As part of her prim-and-proper act, Blanche repeatedly rejects Mitch's physical affections. Once he discovers the truth about Blanche's sordid sexual past, Mitch is both angry and embarrassed about the way Blanche has treated him. Blanche puts herself at Mitch's mercy and asks...
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