A Streetcar Named Desire notes for scene 2

A Streetcar Named Desire notes for scene 2

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A Streetcar named Desire-Scene Two
This scene is important as in this scene the groundwork is laid for the conflicts which follow:-
Stanley's jealousy and suspicion
Blanche's ignorance of the effect her behaviour has on people
Both the motive and means for Blanche's destruction are now becoming
clear as Williams prepares the ground for the inevitable calamity
Characterisation: Blanche
The audience's compassion for Blanche increases as Williams reveals just how destitute she is
by showing that all her belongings in the world amount to a trunk full of cheap dresses, fake
furs and costume jewellery
Blanche takes the first of many baths in this scene. She says that steaming hot baths are
necessary to calm her nerves. Yet, Blanche's constant need to wash her body symbolises her
need for emotional, spiritual and mental cleansing.
On one level this habit is extremely irritating to the other inhabitants of the apartment and
will significantly increase the tension. On another level, her bathing foreshadows the
eventual revelation of her sordid past. She desires to rid herself of her social blemishes and
start over again after leaving Laurel
The second part of the scene begins with Blanche making an appearance in her red bath
robe. Her flirting manner arouses Stanley's suspicions as he senses that her provocative
behaviour is more fitting for a prostitute than a schoolteacher, "If I didn't know that you were
my wife's sister I'd get ideas about you!"
Characterisation - Stanley
In this scene Stanley's antagonism to Blanche grows as do his suspicions about her
Stanley's hostility is rooted in his sharp awareness of the class differences between himself
and Blanche (and by implication Stella) and his instinctive reaction is to pull her down to his
This class antagonism is intensified by Stanley's suspicions that Blanche has cheated both he
and Stella
He is unaware that Blanche's costume jewellery is fake and his resentment grows when
Stella mocks him
Stanley's repeated references to the Napoleonic Code show that he is ignorant of legal
technicalities because Belle Reve being in Mississippi would not fall under New Orleans

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However, these repeated references highlight the fact that his conflict with Blanche is also a
gender showdown. Stanley feels that as a man whatever Stella has belongs to him. He also
hates Blanche as a woman and as a person with a far more prestigious family name.…read more


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