A Street Car Named Desire
Introductions and first impressions play an important role in a novel. Streetcar Named Desire, the character of Blanche is the center of the play, in which all the problems that arise are as a result of Blanche’s actions or simply her presence. Tennessee Williams conveys this in the beginning scene of the play, where Blanche is instantly distinguished as a stranger to the setting. She is seen being patronizing towards the other characters of the play, giving of the impression to the audience of a snobbish attitude.
Blanche’s character may just be the most interesting character, and arguably the main character, as we see her character evolve from the start due to the ways she finds ways to cover her true self, like by her clothing; she dresses as a noblewoman to come across as a classy Victorian lady, but this facade deteriorates significantly. When she enters, it is fairly easy to see that Blanche is new to the neighborhood, through her action of looking at “a slip of paper”, which was an address. The numerous ornamental accessories (“necklace”, “earrings of pearl”) give the feeling that Blanche is from the upper, aristocratic classes.
The stage direction of “shocked disbelief” is strong as it demonstrates a mix of horror and awe as she takes in her surroundings. There is an obvious contrast between her and the scenery, “incongruous to this setting”, outlining the obvious difference in both bringing up and their scale on the social ladder, “daintily dressed in a white suit with a fluffy bodice, necklace, and earrings of pearl”. This contrasting has been made more noticeable through William’s use of simile, “as if she were arriving at a summer tea or cocktail party”.
Williams uses this oxymoron of Blanche’s “delicate beauty’ avoiding “a strong light”, at the same time likening her to a “moth”, which is attracted to the light; Williams gives the audience the view that she is beautiful, unique and out of place, whilst at the same time likening her to a moth which is a pesky insect, hanging around lights and creating a disturbance to those around it. We, as the audience watching the play, would feel that Blanche is a peculiar character, and certainly very “incongruous” in the streets of New Orleans.
Eunice, the interaction of Blanche and her, further demonstrates how Blanche is ill suited to the ‘vibe’ of New Orleans. Soon Eunice asks what Blanche is doing there, the audience sees Blanche is very nervous, disorientated and unnerved : she speaks “with faintly hysterical humor” to possibly act as a mental barrier to prevent stress from taking its toll on her. Also, we see Blanche stiffly speaks to Eunice in short, simple sentences while Eunice replies casually to her questions, showing the complete contrast of both their personalities and the affects of being brought up in a different class has done.
Blanche’s anxiousness heavily contrasts with Eunice’s calm demeanor and this emphasizes how out of place she is. Though we do see that even though Eunice was courteous enough to offer help to Blanche, she s treats her as a nuisance. After Blanche is shown the interior of the flat by Eunice, the audience can see that Blanche’s attitude to Eunice now becomes obvious: she now wants “to get rid of her”. Blanche and Eunice have a conversation but Blanche responds as concisely as possible while Eunice tries to keep the conversation going, this is interesting as Blanches demeanor completely changes over a very short period of time.
When summarized, the playwright, Williams, portrays Blanche as an aristocratic character of whom heavily contrasts with the mood and atmosphere of New Orleans yet later on we discover her past fits incredibly well with the pulse of the French Quarter. Blanche shall display many a personalities to those watching, the audience, from reclusive and soft spoken, through to out right arrogance and being highly obnoxious. When it comes down to it, Williams, being the playwright he is, has been able to convey the complexities of Blanche wonderfully in such a short section of scene one, the most crucial part of the play.