The fact that Williams saw an actual streetcar in Old Orleans gives the impression that Williams play is close to own heart; we know that his sister could be viewed as a representation of Blanche in the play. She too had casual, frequent encounters much like Blanche has in the play. She was a nymphomaniac who was finally lobotomised and sent to an asylum. It is clear that A Streetcar Named Desire is personal to the Playwright. Blanche has annoying obsessive behaviour and it is clear that the Writer portrays Blanche as a person who would be clearly hell to live with.
Blanche is first introduced in the play as being moth like; immediately she is compared in her smartness to the shabby, rundown street ironically named, Elysian Fields: She is daintily dressed in a white suit with a fluffy bodice¦ Her appearance is grand and starkly contrasted to the grubby settings. We also learn that Blanche is snobbish. Eunice is forced to speak: ¦. Defensively, noticing Blanches look. Blanche is unhappy in Old Orleans and she shows that she does not want to be associated with the standard of living, this she shows by her facial expressions and her posture whilst she sits in her chair.
We also know she is a secret drinker: I rarely touch the stuff . . . Blanches drinking habit could be seen as a way of suppressing her guilt and anaesthetising her pain. Blanche has many weaknesses and drinking is one of these. She is self-destructive and these weaknesses are largely to blame for own her mental deterioration. Blanche talks to herself, which is considered to be strange: [Faintly to herself] Ive got to keep a hold of myself! This is the first clue we get to Blanches declining mental state. We see this as a slightly wild that she talks to herself.
Blanche allows as she has done in the past, her sexual desires dominate her life. She is self-destructive although that does not mean that the audience does not have sympathy for her. Stella is aware of Blanches need of flattery; it is suggested that Stella knows Blanche too well. She says to Stanley early on: Tell her she looks pretty. . . Stella is acutely conscious of Blanches need of flattery, and Stella quietly tries to please Blanche by telling Stanley to be nice. Blanche also has obsessive behaviour, which the audience can see as very annoying: I havent bathed or powered my nose, and yet you are seeing me here.
She sings in the bath and cleans all day long, Blanche pesters both Stanley and Stella, but Stanley has more of a short fuse. His tolerance quickly runs out. Blanche is always living in the past. This becomes highly evident when she is idly reminiscing about one of ex-boyfriends: Yes I ran into Sheep Huntleigh I ran into him on Biscayne Boulevard, on Christmas Eve, about dusk¦. Tennessee Williams characters are always trying to capture their former golden moment. Blanche is not living in present reality; she cannot bear the infringement of ugly reality into her wonderful make-believe world of the past.
. Blanche to some extent is trapped in this rundown street with only her sisters support, which later in the play we know is lost. We feel sympathy towards Blanche at this point because it is clear that at this instance she is quite senseless. Blanche has a constant need to be flattered. She ceaselessly fishes for compliments from Stanley, Mitch and Stella: Stella you havent said one thing about my appearance. Blanche has a fixation in her head that her looks are everything to her; she is very self-absorbed: Do you know I havent put on one ounce since you left Belle Reve.
She boasts about the fact she is still beautiful; she is scared, however that people only see her for her looks as she never wants to look anything less than her best: I will not be seen in this light . . . Blanche does not like looking plain or aged because it makes her feel insignificant and unwanted; she likes to have the constant assurance of someone telling her she looks nice so she can feel good: I need kindness right now¦ Blanches growing madness becomes evident at the beginning of the play: I cant be alone.
Because as you must have noticed Im not very well . . . Later on in the play the audience sees Blanches character unfold. We see that she is highly manipulative and flirts with men to get them to do what she wants, although it does not work with Stanley as we see early on: [She smiles at him radiantly] Do you think it possible that I was once considered to be attractive?. . . This quotation is showing that Blanche is treading dangerously in flirting with her sisters husband. We have a great deal of insight into Blanches sexual background.
We know from her past that she was very promiscuous and she indulged into one-night stands at the Hotel Flamingo, back in Laurel. Blanche does this in order to feel needed because she wants to be noticed: You have got to be seductive . . . put on soft colours¦ and glow make a little temporary magic and glow We feel sympathy that Blanche has to sleep with men but this is very seedy behaviour and very much a personal weakness that Blanche cannot change. Her promiscuity leads her to the acknowledgement that her life is nothing in the hotel she tries to get away from her past but it keeps catching up with her.
Stanley and Mitch remind her of this. Blanche again in her critical speech about magic stresses the importance of appearance: I dont know how much longer I can turn the trick. You have to be soft and attractive, and Im fading now. Mitch is taken in by Blanches manipulation. The relationship between Blanche and Mitch could be seen as an escape route into reality, as it is what Blanche: needs a house of her own and a permanent relationship to settle down in. Blanche lies to Mitch about her own age and Stellas: I call her little in spite of the fact she is somewhat older than I.