A Streetcar Named Desire notes for scene 11

A Streetcar Named Desire notes for scene 11

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A Streetcar Named Desire -Scene 11
This scene is a downbeat coda ( a concluding passage which provides a satisfying ending) to
the melodrama of the rape in the previous scene
The mood is subdued, a mood intensified by the fact that the previous scene with the poker
players was loud and noisy (scene 3)
Differences between Scene 3 and Scene 11
Stella has been crying
All the poker players apart from Stanley have lost their boisterous good humour
They rise in an act of courtesy when Blanche passes through the room
Stanley again tears down the paper lantern. Blanche cries out as though in physical pain. His
action can be seen as a symbolic replay of the rape
Why is this scene particularly effective?
Like Blanche, the audience too is kept in the dark about what is going to happen
It is only gradually that the audience are made aware that Blanche is being committed to a
mental hospital
Blanche's quiet dignity at the end is in sharp contrast to her earlier displays of vanity and
fussing over her appearance
The trivia of Blanche's wardrobe and her costume jewellery is to heighten the dramatic
tension of what is about to happen
Blanche's final words, "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers" reveals the
sad truth that there has been very little kindness in Blanche's life
Blanche's behaviour towards the poker players conveys the way in which being raped by
Stanley has scarred her. At the start of the play she performs for his friends, by the end she
hides from their gaze and hopes they won't notice her
The roles of the two sisters reverse as Stella admits that she may have entered a world of
make-believe when she acknowledges that she cannot believe Blanche's story about the
rape and continue to live with Stanley. Stella explains that, quite simply, if she is to go on
living with Stanley she must believe that the story of the rape is the invention of a mentally
unstable woman. Blanche's descent into madness saves Stella from the truth
Stella's tears at the end are shed not only for her sister but also for the complexity and
tension between illusion and reality, between Blanche's story and Stella's own
understanding of her life
She also cries because part of her is glad to see Blanche go
The offstage announcement that another poker game ("seven card stud") is about to
commence ends the play with a symbol of the deception and bluffing that has taken place in
the Kowalski house
The image of Stanley and Stella together at the end symbolises Stanley has won ­ he is the
triumphant victor


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