Character Analysis: A Streetcar Named Desire, By Tennessee Williams

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Tennessee Williams was born in Columbus, Mississippi on March 26, 1911 (Biography.com). He won a Pulitzer Prize for his works, including A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Tin Roof. A Streetcar Named Desire, written in 1947, is the play that gave Williams his first Pulitzer Prize (Biography.com). The main characters in that play are Blanche Dubois, her younger sister Stella, and Stella’s husband Stanley Kowalski. Blanche Dubois has unexpectedly come to live with her sister because she has lost her job. In Tennessee Williams’ play A Streetcar Named Desire, Blanche Dubois is characterized as a liar, mentally unstable and having troubled relationships with men.
Blanche Dubois lies about her life to escape reality. She tries to keep
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Blanche is very sensitive light “His cruelest gesture in the play is to tear the paper lantern off the lightbulb.” (Cohn 82). Besides her rape, the worst thing Stanley did to Blanche was ripping off her paper lantern which also symbolizes revealing the truth about her life. Blanche tries her best not to be seen in the light “Her delicate beauty must avoid a strong light.”(Williams 3)”. If seen in the light Blanche thinks that people will see her imperfections. Bright lights have a deeper effect on Blanche than just her looks, “I can't stand a naked light bulb….” (Williams 54). Bright lights remind Blanche of the searchlight which revealed the horrific sight of Blanche’s husband, Allan’s, suicide. Normand Berlin implies “That she must cover the light and live in the shadows indicates her twilight condition and her attitude towards life…” (Berlin 37). Blanche prefers to stay in the dark not only physically, but mentally she stays in the dark about life, Blanche prefers magic over the reality of life. Blanche shows more instability with her need for constant baths “I take hot baths for my nerves. Hydrotherapy, they call it.” (Williams 118). Blanche uses bathing to calm herself and to help her with her nervous breakdowns. Blanche always seems to be a little tense “My nerves are in knots. Is the bathroom occupied?” (Williams 45). Steaming hot baths helps Blanche calm down. Blanche’s bathing also represents …show more content…
Blanche’s bad relationships started with her teenage lover Allan “I’d suddenly said-- “I saw! I know! You disgust me…”...” (Williams 103). Blanche walks in on her husband Allan having an affair not only was Allan having an affair but it was with another man. Bert Cardullo adds “Then unable to stop herself she blurted out the words that drove her first and only love to kill himself” (Cardullo 77). Blanche’s insensitivity towards Allan causes him to want to end his life at that very moment. Soon after Blanche finds out Allan’s secret Blanche finds out “The Grey boy! He’d stuck the revolver in his mouth and fired…”(Williams 103). Allan ran off and killed himself due to Blanche’s harsh words towards him. Allan’s death often haunts Blanche “... the feeling of guilt over having caused young Allan’s death” (Kataria 24). Blanche constantly blames herself for Allan’s suicide. Despite Blanche’s failed marriage with Allan, Blanche still wants to find a man to take care of her “You said you needed somebody well, I need somebody too” (Williams 128). Blanche meets a man named Harold Mitchell and when she finds out that he is single and looking to marry before his mother dies she feels as if they should be together because in a way they need each other. Harold’s mother is very sick, but she wants her son to marry “Death makes them realize their need of one another” (Cohn 83). Blanche uses that information and suggests that

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