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Blanche Dubois

Blanche Dubois is the protagonist of Tennessee Williams' play, A Streetcar Named Desire. Her character represents a life that is falling apart, and she expresses this disintegration in her inability to control her thoughts, actions, and words in her interactions with the major characters in the play: Stella, Stanley and Mitch.

Blanche's sister, Stella Kowalski, lives with her husband in New Orleans. When Blanche and Stella first see each other in Stella's apartment, Blanche's anxious and babbling behavior is off-putting, and it worries Stella. "No coke, honey," Blanche tells Stella, "not with my nerves tonight" (Williams 11). Blanche's judgmental tone when she criticizes Stella's home is obvious to Stella. But Blanche does not stop her needling: "But you - you put on some weight, yes, you're just a plump as a little partridge" (Williams 14), to which Stella takes offense. Blanche's inability to censor her thoughts to the one person who loves her unconditionally serves as one of the factors that push apart the two sisters. Though Stella worries about Blanche, she is also driven away from her, furthering Blanche's isolation and affecting Stella's final decision about Blanche's mental health. The tragedy of Blanche's relationship with Stella is when Stella refuses to believe Blanche's story of Stanley raping her. In this denial, Stella decides to choose her man over her blood relation; a man who is abusive and unfaithful, while her sister goes insane. In this choice, we see that Blanche, despite telling the truth, has rendered herself powerless in her interactions with her sister, but has in a way influenced her sister's decision to send Blanche to an institution. Though Stella's choice hurts Blanche, it is almost an action of regaining control and power over her own life, taking it away from Blanche.

Blanche's interactions with Stanley reveal the most important conflict in the drama. Deeply at odds with each other, Blanche ...

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Blanche Dubois. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 18:14, September 22, 2014, from