"Streetcar Named Desire" - Blanche - character analysis/overview

Essay by twinkiepinkHigh School, 12th gradeA, May 2006

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In society's eyes, Blanche is a fallen woman. She has lost her family fortune and estate, her young husband to suicide and gained an appalling reputation due to her sexual behavior. Behind her facade of social snobbery and sexual propriety, Blanche is an insecure individual. She is an aging Southern belle who lives in a state of paranoia about her fading beauty. Her manner is dainty and frail, which Stanley quickly sees through her act.

In the Kowalski household, Blanche pretends to be a woman who has never known shame. However, her false politeness is an attempt to attract the opposite sex. Blanche depends on male sexual admiration for her sense of self-esteem, which means that she has often succumbed to passion, ie the newspaper boy. Men's exploitation of Blanche's sexuality has left her with a poor reputation, as depicted when one of Stanley's friends states that Blanche seems familiar and asks if she's ever been by the local hotel.

This reputation makes Blanche an unattractive marriage prospect. Blanche is destitute and she sees marriage as her only possibility for survival. Blanche resorts to Mitch as her only chance for contentment, even though he is far from her perfect man. He is clumsy, sweaty and has unrefined interests like muscle building. Though sensitive, he lacks Blanche's romantic perspective, as well as her understanding of poetry and literature. Blanche toys with Mitch's lack of intelligence when she teases him in French because she knows that he will not understand and thus duping him into playing along with her self-flattering charades.

Though they come from completely different worlds, Mitch and Blanche are drawn together by their common need of companionship and support, thus believing that they are right for one another. They also discover that they have both experienced the death...