A Streetcar Named Desire: Key Quotations


“Whoever you are- I have always depended on the kind-ness of strangers” Final act as Blanche meets the doctor when she is taken away to the hospital. Idea that there is kindness in the world – slightly optimistic ending. The Doctor is of the ‘old’ school – he appears ‘hard’ when he arrives, but reveals himself to be kind and compassionate. Perhaps it is possible to bridge the gap.
“She is so excited her breath is audible as she dashes about.” Scene 9 – when Mitch confronts Blanche about the truth about her This is directly juxtaposed later when Blanche says “I really shouldn’t let you in” to Mitch. This is an example of Blanche putting on a false appearance for others, which can be contrasted with Stanley’s matter-of-factness.
“She is daintily dressed in a white suit … necklace and earrings of pearl … as if she were arriving … at a cocktail party” Stage Direction – Scene One – Blanche’s first appearance on stage – creates audiences first impressions of Blanche. The stereotype of Blanche Dubois is created here of the Southern Belle, with the word “daintily” used to describe the way she dresses. Also the “white” suit suggests innocence and purity, however, this is dramatic irony, as later on in the play (very soon) we find out she is not innocent and pure at all (especially the way she drinks alcohol the minute she steps into Stanley’s house).
“Liquor goes fast in hot weather.” [He holds the bottle to the light to observe its depletion] Scene One, Stanley observes the bottle of liquor that Blanche has just consumed and tried to hide. This can be interpreted as Stanley being keen and observant, and also shows that Stanley understands when to withhold information. Later on in the play, he uses his knowledge of Blanche’s hidden actions against her (Scene Ten.) Combining this observation with another scene in the play, where Stanley listens to Blanche criticising him, Stanley’s actions portray him as a predator, something similar to a hunter. In which he uses information to “attack” Blanche at the end.
“Don’t-don’t hang back with the brutes!” Scene 4: Blanche tries to persuade Stella to leave Stanley after seeing them fight previously from act 3. This play is a study of one way of life dying and another taking over. A useful quote from Williams to use with this quote is “The beast will inherit the world”, which summarizes Williams view of the future of America. The quote represents the conflict between Blanche and Stanley who tries to win over Stella. Their conflict symbolizes the conflict between the different ways of living. Blanche represents the old aristocratic southern way of life, while Stanley represents the industrialized way of life in New Orleans. Blanche views Stanley as someone who is bestial and uncivilized, calling him a brute. This is because, to Blanche, the life that Stanley represents is a more brutal way of life where the subtler things such as arts are lost. However, in the end, the fact that Stella chooses Stanley over Blanche represents that Stanley’s way of life has won. Williams views that despite the fact that the life that Stanley represents is more brutal, it is more practical and therefore wins in the end.
–> This quote is also an example of Blanche’s highly stylized dialogue. Streetcar belongs to the style of expressionism, where it conveys a deeper sense of truth without needing surface realism.
“It was like you suddenly turned a blinding light on something that had always been half in shadow”……
“And then the searchlight which had been turned on the world was turned off again and never for one moment since has there been any light that’s stronger than this- kitchen-candle…”
Scene 6: Blanche telling Mitch about her relationship with Allan Grey In the long speech at the end of scene 6 by Blanche the audience see her own creation of her past and the way she uses lyrical language to describe it. Once again showing the poetic language linked with the old southern way of life that Blanche represents.This also shows the use of light as a symbol. In this case it could be used as a metaphor for love which goes alongside Stanley’s “get the coloured lights going”
“I dont want realism. I want magic!”…..”I tell what ought to be truth” Scene 9: Blanche explaining herself to Mitch when he finds out about her indiscretions This links in with the theme of appearance vs reality and the factual truth vs the emotional truth. Also shows Blanche is still trying to be the Southern Belle who covers up anything bad.–>Good link with The Importance of Being Earnest
[As he peers at Blanche, he gives a low whistle. He has had a few drinks on the way ] Opening of Scene 10 where Blanche is all dressed up to the nines and is talking to herself, Stanley arrives back from the hospital. This stage direction is ominous as the low whistle is deliberately ambiguous meaning that it could be sexual or just shocked.
Also it is foreshadowing as we see he has had a few drinks and from the famous poker scene (scene 3) we know that Stanley gets violent/physical when he is drunk as he loses control and gives in to his desires.
“Physical beauty is passing. A transitory possession. But the beauty of the mind and the richness of the spirit and tenderness of the heart- and I have all of those things- aren’t taken away but grow!” Scene 10: Blanche is trying to explain to Stanley what the millionaire from Dallas wants from her. The stage direction during this speech says [Improvising feverishly] as we see Blanche desperately convincing Stanley of her worth.Again we see the clash between hard and soft people. Stanley sees women as objects and only good for their practicality yet Blanche is trying to show him that there is more to a women then her body. But Stanley doesn’t or cannot see this.
“Flores. Flores. Flores para los muertos. Flores. Flores.” Scene 9: Blanche’s true self is revealed to Mitch. Mitch accuses Blanche of lying to him. This is said by the Mexican woman who is an expressionistic device used by Williams. The flowers for the dead that she is selling reflects Blanche’s internal state. The use of death here suggests death nearing Blanche as her facade is stripped away. This shows the death of hope/ death of love. The Mexican woman may also represent America’s problems with illegal immigrants from Mexico during the time period this play was shown. This symbolizes the new way of life and how Blanche, who represents the past, is dying away.
“I, I, I took the blows in my face and my body.” Scene 1: Blanche is telling Stella about Belle Reve Blanche is dramatic and attention seeking. Typical Southern Belle but also speaks well- quite eloquent. Links into her association with English Literature which is symbolism for the traditional, old way of life.
“Her appearance is incongruous to this setting.” Scene 1: Blanche arrives at New Orleans Blanche never fit into the New Orleans way of life. Can be directly compared to Yolland who also could not fit into Baile Baeg because he could not speak the local language.
“Blanche walks on without turning, followed by the Doctor and the Matron Scene 11: When Blanche is taken away This can be interpreted as Blanche “winning” against Stanley because she walks on without turning around when Stella is crying, Blanche has not changed. Stanley’s image on the other hand has been damaged from his friends’ and Stella’s point of view.
She pours a half tumbler of whisky and tosses it down.Blanche [faintly to herself]: I’ve got to keep hold of myself!Super Gideon Quotes© Scene 1: When Blanche first enters the Kowalski’s apartment. As this takes place at the exposition of the play (when characterization usually occurs); this is the first time we see Blanche by herself, and reveals that she is a troubled character (the reasons of which are revealed later on in the play).
There is something about her uncertain manner, as well as her white clothes, that suggests a moth.Super Gideon Quotes© Scene 1: When Eunice welcomes Blanche to Elysian Fields. By alluding to Blanche as a moth, Williams creates one of the key symbols of the play. The symbol works on two levels, one – that Blanche’s beauty is slowly fading; two – that she avoids bright light like a moth but to avoid reality.She avoids light to avoid revealing her age and fading beauty to Mitch, and maintains this by continually covering up the harsh light in the Kowalski apartment with the paper lantern. Bright light also represents her troubled past and her decision for not dealing with reality.
Stella! My baby doll’s left me!…I want my baby!…Stella!…Stella! Scene 3.
A tearful Stanley screams up the stairs to Eunice’s where his pregnant wife has fled after his brutality,
This shows that Stanley is not a man of words. He expresses his feelings through only a few words and calling his wife’s name which is almost comparable to an animalistic cry for his mate. On another level, it also shows Stanley’s dependence on his wife – his first time showing his emotional side.



About Ms. N's Rhyme and Reason

Hi, In the beginning was the word. Hence begins the history of humankind, in all domains of evolution. The thriving of civilizations has depended on how articulate were their teachers- the ones who descended with the learned art to their offspring generations. This phenomenon of transmitting of genetic code of learning has been at the heart of my inspiration to teach. This art somehow has transformed into a mantra for me, and it has never ceased to amaze me. Although to become a perfect teacher one might take a lifetime, but if one tries to be perfect, one negates the reason to experiment and fail. Hence, I may have faltered in some of my approaches, but my aspiration has been to try rectifying the short-coming, to connect again with the subject-matter and my pupils, to demystify the intended outcome, to enthuse the learners again, and to keep the cycle going.
This entry was posted in A Level Literature in English, Course No.9695, Paper 4 and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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