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... А Б В Г Д Е Ж З И К Л М Н О П Р С Т У Ф Х Ц Ч Ш Щ Э Ю Я

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American Literature books summary

witty, arrogant, fragile, and ultimately crumbling figure. Blanche once was

married to and passionately in love with a tortured young man. He killed

himself after she discovered his homosexuality, and she has sufiered from

guilt and regret ever since. Blanche watched parents and relatives{all the

old guard{die off, and then had to endure foreclosure on the family estate.

Cracking under the strain, or perhaps yielding to urges so long suppressed

that they now cannot be contained, Blanche engages in a series of sexual

escapades that trigger an expulsion from her community. In New Orleans she

puts on the airs of a woman who has never known indignity, but Stanley sees

through her. Her past catches up with her and destroys her relationship

with Mitch. Stanley, as she fears he might, destroys what's left of her. At

the end of the play she is led away to an insane asylum.

Stella Kowalski { Blanche's younger sister, with the same timeworn

aristocratic heritage, but who has jumped the sinking ship and linked her

life with lower-class vitality. Her union with Stanley is animal and

spiritual, violent but renewing. She cannot really explain it to Blanche.

While she loves her older sister, and pities her, she cannot bring herself

to believe Blanche's accusation against Stanley. Though it is agony, she

has her sister committed.

Stanley Kowalski { Stanley is the epitome of vital force. He is a man in

the ush of life, a lover of women, a worker, a fighter, new blood{a chief

male of the ock, with his tail feathers fanned and brilliant. He is loyal

to his friends, passionate to his wife, and heartlessly cruel to Blanche.

Mitch { An army buddy, coworker, and poker buddy of Stanley. He is the

sensitive member of that crowd, perhaps because he lives with his slowly-

dying mother. Mitch and Blanche are both people in need of companionship

and support. Though Mitch is of Stanley's world, and Blanche is off in her

own world, the two believe they have found an acceptable companion in the

other. Mitch woos Blanche over the course of the summer until Stanley

reveals secrets about Blanche's past.

Eunice { Stella's friend and landlady. Lives above the Kowalskis with


Steve { Poker buddy of Stanley. Lives upstairs with Eunice.

Pablo { Poker buddy of Stanley.

A Negro Woman { Two brief appearances. She is sitting on the steps talking

to Eunice when Blanche arrives. Later, in the 'real-world-struggle-for-

existence' sequence, she ri es through a prostitute's abandoned handbag.

A Doctor { Comes to the door at the play's finale to whisk Blanche off to

an asylum. After losing a struggle with the nurse, Blanche willingly goes

with the kindly-seeming doctor.

A Nurse { Comes with the doctor to collect Blanche and bring her to an

institution. A matronly, unfeminine figure with a talent for subduing

hysterical patients.

A Young Collector { A young man (seventeen, perhaps), who comes to the door

to collect for the newspaper. Blanche lusts after him but constrains

herself to irtation and a passionate farewell kiss. The boy leaves


A Mexican woman { A vendor of Mexican funeral decorations who frightens

Blanche by issuing the plaintive call: Flores para los muertos. The Mexican

woman later reprises this role in the underrated comedy Quick Change

(1990), starring Bill Murray and Geena Davis.


Stanley and Stella Kowalski live on a street called Elysian Fields in a run-

down but charming section of New Orleans. They are newly married and

desperately in love. One day Stella's older sister, Blanche DuBois, arrives

to stay with them, setting up the drama's central con ict: an emotional tug-

of-war between the raw, brute sensuality of Stanley and the fragile,

crumbling gentility of Blanche. Truth be told, it is not an even match, for

Blanche is already sliding down a slippery slope. Blanche and Stella are

the last in a line of landed Southern gentry. Stella has renounced the worn

dictates of class propriety to follow her heart and marry an uncultured

blue-collar worker of Polish extraction. Meanwhile, Blanche has played

nursemaid to the old guard on its deathbed and watched the family estate

slip through her fingers into foreclosure. Her professed values are those

of an older South, of charm and wit and chivalry, gaiety and light,

appearance and code.

Blanche claims she has been given a leave of absence from her high school

teaching job to recover from a nervous breakdown. She settles in with the

Kowalskis but things do not go smoothly. Her disapproval of Stanley and the

station in life her sister Stella has chosen is obvious, though she strives

to be polite. Her feelings against Stanley are galvanized when she

witnesses him strike Stella in a fit of drunken rage. Stanley's feelings

for her are similarly hardened when he overhears her describe him as animal-

like, neolithic, and brutish. Blanche's imposition, her airs, and her

distortions of reality infuriate Stanley. He begins to chip away at her

thin veneer of armor.

Of Stella's and Stanley's friends, one seems to stand above the rest in

sensitivity and grace. This is Mitch, who works at the same factory as

Stanley, and lives with his sick mother. He has no refinement, but his

native gentleness and sincerity inspire Blanche to return his afiection.

The two seem to need each other They see a great deal of one another as the

summer wears on, but Blanche places strict limits on their intimacy. She

has old-fashioned ideals and morals, she tells him. Meanwhile, Stella's

first pregnancy progresses and Stanley continues his subtle campaign of

intimidation against Blanche.

Blanche's past catches up with her. When she was younger, she fell in love

with and married a man whom she later caught in bed with another man. When

she confronted him, he killed himself for shame. This knocked the

foundations out from under her, and the subsequent poverty and emotional

hardships were too much for her. She sought solace or oblivion in the

intimacy of strangers; apparently many intimacies with many strangers, and

a disastrous afiair with a seventeen- year-old student at her high school.

Blanche departed Mississippi in disgrace and arrived in New Orleans with

nowhere else to go. Stanley discovers this sordid account. He tells Mitch

and efiectively ends the budding relationship. For Blanche's birthday,

Stanley presents her with a one-way bus ticket back to Mississippi. And

then, while Stella is in labor at the hospital, Stanley rapes Blanche.

Stella cannot believe the story Blanche tells her about the man she loves.

And Blanche's grasp on reality is otherwise shattered. So, with supreme

remorse, Stella has Blanche committed. In the final scene of the play,

Stella sobs in agony and the rest look on indifierently as a doctor and a

nurse lead Blanche away.

Scene 1 Summary

The scene is the exterior of a corner building on a street called Elysian

Fields, in a poor section of New Orleans with "rafish charm." The building

has two ats: upstairs live Steve and Eunice, downstairs Stanley and Stella.

Voices and the bluesy notes of an old piano emanate from an unseen bar

around the corner. It is early May, evening.

Eunice and a Negro woman are relaxing on the steps of the building when

Stanley and Mitch show up. Stanley hollers for Stella, who comes out onto

the first oor landing. Stanley hurls a package of meat up to her. He and

Mitch are going to meet Steve at the bowling alley; Stella soon follows to

watch them. Eunice and the Negro woman in particular find something

humorously suggestive in the meat-hurling episode.

Soon after Stella leaves, her sister Blanche arrives with a suitcase,

looking with disbelief at a slip of paper in her hand and then at the

building. She is "daintily" dressed and moves tentatively, looking and

apparently feeling out of place in this neighborhood. Eunice assures her

that this is where Stella lives. The Negro woman goes to the bowling alley

to tell Stella of her sister's arrival while Eunice lets Blanche into the

two-room at. Eunice makes small talk. We learn that Blanche is from

Mississippi, that she is a teacher, that her family estate is called Belle

Reve. Blanche finally asks to be left alone.

Eunice, somewhat offended, leaves to help fetch Stella. Blanche, trying to

control her discomfort, nerves, and whatever else, spies a bottle of

whiskey and downs a shot.

Stella returns. The women embrace, and Blanche talks feverishly, nearly

hysterical. Blanche is clearly critical of the physical and social setting

in which Stella lives. She tries to check her criticism, but the reunion

begins on a tense and probably familiar note. Blanche tells Stella that she

has been given a leave of absence from school due to her nerves, and that

is why she is here in the middle of the term. She wants Stella to tell her

how she looks, and in return comments on Stella's plumpness. She fusses

over Stella, is surprised to learn Stella has no maid, takes another drink,

worries about the privacy and decency of her staying in the apartment when

Stella and Stanley are in the next room with no door, and worries whether

Stanley will like her.

Stella warns Blanche that Stanley is very difierent from the men with whom

Blanche is familiar back home. She is quite clearly deeply in love with

him. In an outburst that builds to a crescendo of hysteria, Blanche reveals

that she has lost Belle Reve and recounts how she sufiered through the

agonizingly slow deaths of their parents and relatives{all while, according

to Blanche, Stella was in bed with her "Polack." Stella finally cuts her

off, then leaves the room, crying. Blanche begins to apologize, but the men

are returning.

They discuss plans for tomorrow's poker night, then break up. Stanley

enters the apartment and sizes Blanche up. The two make small talk, with

Stanley in the lead and Blanche reacting. Stanley asks what happened to

Blanche's marriage. Blanche replies haltingly that the "boy" died. She sits

down and declares that she feels ill.

Scene 2 Summary

Six o'clock the following day. Blanche is taking a bath. Stella tells

Stanley to be kind to Blanche because she has undergone the ordeal of

losing Belle Reve (the family estate). Stanley is more interested in what

happened to the proceeds of the supposed sale. He thinks Stella has been

swindled out of her rightful share, which means that he has been swindled.

Angrily he pulls all of Blanche's belongings out of her trunk, looking for

a bill of sale. To him, Blanche's somewhat tawdry clothing and rhinestone

jewelry look like finery{all that remains of the estate's value. Enraged at

Stanley's actions, Stella storms out onto the porch.

Blanche finishes her bath. She sends Stella out to the drug store to buy a

soda while she and Stanley have their discussion. With her blend of

irtation, nonsense, sincerity, and desperation, Blanche manages to disarm

Stanley and convince him that no fraud has been perpetrated against anyone.

Blanche is horrified when Stanley opens and begins to read the old letters

and love poems from her husband. Stanley lets slip that Stella is going to

have a baby. Stella returns from the drugstore and some of the men arrive

for their poker game. Exhilarated by the news of Stella's pregnancy and by

her own handling of the situation with Stanley, Blanche follows Stella for

their girls' night out.

Scene 3 Summary

It's two-thirty a.m. the same night. Steve, Pablo, Mitch, and Stanley are

playing poker in the Kowalski's kitchen. Their patter goes back and forth,

heavy with testosterone. Stella and Blanche return and Stella makes in-

troductions. Blanche immediately determines something "superior to the

others" in Mitch; Mitch's awkwardness seems to indicate an attraction on

his part, as well.

Stella and Blanche share a sisterly chat in the back room while the poker

game continues. Stanley, drunk, hollers at them to be quiet. Blanche turns

on the radio, which again rouses Stanley's ire. The other men enjoy the

rhumba, but Stanley springs up and shuts off the radio. He and Blanche

stare each other down. Mitch skips the next hand and goes to the bathroom.

Waiting for Stella to finish, he and Blanche talk. Blanche is a little

drunk, too. They discuss Mitch's sick mother, the sincerity of sick and

sorrowful people, and the inscription on Mitch's cigarette case. Blanche

claims that she is actually younger than Stella. She asks Mitch to put a

Chinese lantern she has bought over the naked bulb. As they talk Stanley is

growing more annoyed at Mitch's absence. Stella leaves the bathroom and

Blanche impulsively turns the radio back on. Stanley leaps up, rushes to

the radio, and hurls it out the window.

Stella yells at Stanley and he begins to beat her. The men pull him off.

Blanche takes Stella and some clothes to Eunice's apartment upstairs.

Stanley goes limp and seems confused, but when the men try to force him

into the shower to sober him up he fights them off. They grab their

winnings and leave.

Stanley stumbles out of the bathroom, calling for Stella. He phones

upstairs, then phones again, before hurling the phone to the oor. Half-

dressed he stumbles out to the street and calls for her again and again:

"STELL- LAHHHHH!" Eunice gives him a piece of her mind, but to no avail.

Finally, Stella slips out of the apartment and down to where Stanley is.

They stare at each other and then rush together with "animal moans." He

falls to his knees, caresses her face and belly, then lifts her up and

carries her into their at.

Blanche emerges from Eunice's at, looking for Stella. She stops short at

the entrance to the downstairs at. Mitch returns and tells her not to

worry, that the two are crazy about each other. He offers her a cigarette.

She thanks him for his kindness.

Scene 4 Summary

Early the next morning, Stella lies serenely in the bedroom, her face

aglow. Blanche, who has not slept, enters the apartment. She demands to

know how Stella could go back and spend the night with Stanley after what

he did to her. Stella feels Blanche is making a big issue out of nothing.

Yet Blanche goes on about how she must figure out a way to get them both

out of this situation, how she recently ran into an old friend who struck

it rich in oil, and perhaps he would be able to help them. Stella pays

little attention to what Blanche says; she has no desire to leave. She says

that Blanche merely saw Stanley at his worst. Blanche feels she saw at his

most characteristic{and this is what terrifies her.

Blanche simply cannot understand how a woman raised in Belle Reve could

choose to live her life with a man who has "not one particle" of a

gentleman in him, about whom there is "something downright{bestial..."

Stella's reply is that "there are things that happen between a man and a

woman in the dark{that sort of make everything else seem{unimportant." This

is just desire, says Blanche, and not a basis for marriage.

A train approaches, and while it roars past Stanley enters the at unheard.

Not knowing that Stanley is listening, Blanche holds nothing back.

She describes him as common, an animal, ape-like, a primitive brute. Stella

listens coldly. Under cover of another passing train, Stanley slips out of

the apartment, then enters it noisily. Stella runs to Stanley and embraces

him fiercely. Stanley grins at Blanche.

Scene 5 Summary

It is mid-August. Stella and Blanche are in the bedroom. Blanche finishes

writing an utterly fabricated letter to the old friend she recently ran

into, then bursts into laughter. She reads from the letter to Stella,

breaking off when the noise of Steve and Eunice's fighting upstairs grows

too loud. Eunice storms off to a bar around the corner. Nursing a bruise on

his forehead, Steve follows her. Stanley enters the apartment in full

bowling regalia. He is rude to Blanche and insinuates some knowledge of her

past. Finally, he asks her if she knows a certain man. This man often

travels to Blanche's town, and claims she was often a client of a

disreputable hotel. Blanche denies it, insisting the man must have confused

her with someone else. Stanley says he'll have the man check on it. He

heads off to the bar, telling Stella to meet him there.

Blanche is shaken to the core by Stanley's remarks. Stella doesn't seem to

take much notice. Blanche demands to know what Stella has heard about her,

what people have been saying. Stella doesn't know what she's talking about.

Blanche admits she was not "so good" the last two years, as she was losing

Belle Reve. She quite lucidly describes herself as soft, dependent, reliant

on Chinese lanterns and light colors. She admits that she no longer has the

youth or beauty to glow in the soft light. Stella doesn't want to hear her

talk like this.

Stella brings Blanche a drink. She likes to wait on Blanche; it reminds her

of their childhood. Blanche becomes hysterical, promising to leave soon,

before Stanley throws her out. Stella calms her for a moment, but when she

accidentally spills her drink slightly on her skirt, Blanche begins to


She is shaking and tries to laugh it off. At last she admits that she is

nervous about her relationship with Mitch. She has been very prim and

proper with him; she wants his respect, but doesn't want him to lose

interest. She wants him very badly, needs him as a stabilizing force.

Stella assures her that it will happen. She kisses her older sister and

runs off to meet Stanley.

Blanche sits alone in the apartment and waits. A young man comes to the

door collecting for the newspaper. Blanche irts with him, offers him a

drink, and generally works her wiles. The young man is very nervous and

would like to leave. Blanche declares that he looks like an Arabian prince.

She kisses him on the lips then sends him on his way. "I've got to be

good," she says, "and keep my hands off children." A few moments later,

Mitch appears with a bunch of roses. She accepts them irtatiously while he


Scene 6 Summary

Two a.m. the same night. Blanche and Mitch appear. She is exhausted, he

seems a bit depressed. Mitch apologizes for not giving her much

entertainment this evening, but Blanche says it was her fault. She reveals

that she will be leaving soon. They discuss a goodnight kiss and the other

night by the lake when Mitch tried for a bit more "familiarity." Blanche

explains that a single girl must keep her urges under control or else she

is "lost." Perhaps he is used to woman who like to be lost on the first

date. Mitch says he likes her simply because she is difierent from anyone

he has ever met. Blanche laughs and invites him in for a nightcap.

Blanche lights a candle and prepares drinks. Mitch remains standing

awkwardly. He won't take his coat off because he's embarrassed about his

perspiration. They discuss Mitch's imposing physique, her slighter one, and

this leads to a brief and somewhat clumsy embrace. Blanche stops him,

claiming she has "old-fashioned ideals" (she rolls her eyes as she offers

this gem, but he cannot see her face). After an awkward silence, Mitch asks

where Stanley and Stella are, and why the four of them never go out


Blanche expresses her conviction that Stanley hates her. Mitch thinks that

Stanley simply doesn't understand her. Blanche knows it's more than that,

that he wants to destroy her.

Mitch asks Blanche how old she is. He has told his ailing mother about

Blanche, but could not tell her how old Blanche was. His mother is not long

for the world and wants to see him settled. Blanche says she understands

how he will miss his mother when she's gone. She understands what it is to

be lonely. She gives a revealing account of what happened with the tender

young man she married. She loved him terribly but somehow it didn't seem to

be enough to save him from whatever it was that tormented him. Then one day

she came home to find her young husband in bed with an older man who had

been his longtime friend. At first they all pretended nothing happened.

They went out to a casino together, the three of them. On the dance floor

she drunkenly confronted him, telling him he disgusted her. Then the boy

rushed out of the casino and everyone heard a shot. He killed himself.

Mitch comes to her and holds her, comforting her. "You need somebody. And I

need somebody, too," he says. "Could it be{you and me, Blanche?" They kiss,

even as she sobs. "Sometimes{there's God{so quickly," she says.

Scene 7 Summary

Late afternoon, mid-September. Stella is decorating for Blanche's birthday.

Stanley comes in. Blanche is in the bathroom, bathing, and Stanley mocks

her to Stella. He tells Stella to sit down and listen because he's got the

dirt on Blanche now. As Blanche, unconcerned, sings "It's Only a Paper

Moon," Stanley gleefully recounts to Stella how Blanche earned a notorious

reputation at the Flamingo hotel and was asked to leave (presumably for

immoral behavior unacceptable even by the standards of that establishment).

She came to be regarded as "nuts" by the town and was declared 'off-limits'

to soldiers at a nearby base. She was not given a leave of absence by her

school; she was kicked out for having a relationship with a seventeen-year-

old boy.

Stella defends her sister. She's not convinced this story is true{certainly

not all of it. Stanley tells Stella not to expect Mitch for the birthday

dinner. He has told Mitch all he heard, and there's no way Mitch will marry

her now.

Stanley has bought Blanche a birthday present: a one-way bus ticket back to

Laurel, Mississippi. He yells at Blanche to get out of the bathroom. She

emerges at last, in high spirits. But Stanley's face as he passes by gives

her a fright. And the dazed way that Stella responds to her chatter alerts

her that something is wrong. She asks Stella what has happened, but Stella

can only feebly lie that nothing has.

Scene 8 Summary

Three quarters of an hour later, the birthday dinner is winding down. The

place set for Mitch is empty. It has obviously been a strained meal.

Blanche tries to break the gloomy silence by asking Stanley to tell a

story. He declines. So Blanche tells one herself- -a lame joke involving a

priest and a swearing parrot. Stanley pointedly does not laugh. Instead, he

reaches across the table for a chop and eats it with his fingers. Stella

scolds him. He smashes his plate, declares that he is sick and tired of

being called "pig Polack disgusting vulgar greasy!" He is the king of this

house. He smashes his cup and saucer and storms out onto the porch. Blanche

again asks Stella what happened while she was taking a bath. What did

Stanley tell Stella about her? Nothing, Stella says, but she is clearly


Although Stella implores her not to, Blanche calls Mitch's house to find

out why he stood her up. Mitch is not home. Stella goes to Stanley out on

the porch. They embrace, and Stanley promises her things will be all right

again after the baby comes and Blanche leaves. Stella goes back inside and

lights the candles. Blanche and Stanley join her. Stanley's patent ill will

produces another tense exchange with Blanche. One of Stanley's bowling

buddies calls up. While he's on the phone, Stanley unnecessarily yells at

Blanche to be quiet. She tries her best to control her nerves. Stanley

returns to the table, and with a thin veneer of kindness offers Blanche a

birthday envelope. She is surprised and delighted|until she opens it and

Stanley declares its contents: a one-way ticket back to Laurel, Mississippi

on a Greyhound bus, leaving Tuesday.

Blanche tries to smile, tries to laugh, runs to the bedroom, and then to

the bathroom, clutching her throat and making gagging noises, as if

Stanley's cruelty has literally taken her breath away. Stanley, pleased

with himself and his just actions (considering, he says, "all I took off

her"), prepares to go bowling. But Stella demands to know why Stanley has

treated Blanche so callously. He reminds her that Stella thought he was

common when they first met, but that he took her off her pedestal and

things were wonderful until Blanche arrived. While he speaks, a sudden

change comes over Stella.

She slowly shufies from the bedroom to the kitchen, then quietly asks to be

taken to the hospital. Stanley is with her in an instant, speaking softly

as he leads her out the door.

Scene 9 Summary

Later the same evening, a scarlet-robed Blanche sits tensely on a bedroom

chair. On a nearby table are a bottle of liquor and a glass. We hear polka

music, but not from the radio: it's playing in her own head. She is

drinking, we are told in the stage directions, not to think about impending


Mitch appears in work clothes, unshaven, making no attempt to play the

gentleman caller. He rings the doorbell and startles Blanche. She asks who

it is, and when he replies, the polka music stops. She frantically scurries

about, applying powder to her face, stashing the liquor in a closet, before

letting him in with a cheerful reprimand. Mitch walks right past her

proffered lips into the apartment. Blanche is frightened but takes it in

stride. She continues in her light and airy mode, scolding him for his

appearance and forgiving him in the same breath. Mitch stares at her,

clearly a bit drunk. He asks her to turn off the fan; she does so. She

offers him a drink, but Mitch doesn't want Stanley's liquor. She backs off,

but the polka music begins again. It's the same tune that was played, she

says out loud, when Allen (her husband)...She breaks off, waiting for the

gunshot. It comes, and the music subsides. Mitch has no idea what she's

talking about.

Blanche goes to the closet and pretends to discover the bottle. She takes

her charade so far as to ask out loud what Southern Comfort is. Mitch does

not bite, but bides his time, getting up the nerve to say what he has come

to say. Blanche tells Mitch to take his foot off the bed, and goes on about

the liquor. Mitch again declines. Stanley has complained to him that

Blanche drinks all of his liquor. At last Blanche asks point blank what is

on his mind.

Mitch says it's dark in the room. He has never seen her in the light, never

in the afternoon. She has always made excuses on Sunday afternoons, only

gone out with him after six, and then never to well-lit places. He's never

had a good look at her. Mitch tears the paper lantern off the lightbulb. He

wants a dose of realism. "I don't want realism, I want magic," replies

Blanche. "I try to give that to people... I don't tell truth, I tell what

ought to be truth.

And if that is sinful, then let me be damned for it." She begs him not to

turn the light on. He turns it on. She lets out a cry. He turns it off.

Mitch is not so concerned about her age; what he can't stomach is the

garbage and excuses about her morals and old-fashioned ideals that he's

been forced to swallow all summer. Blanche tries to defend herself, but

Mitch has heard stories about her from three difierent sources and is

convinced. She breaks, and admits the truth through convulsive sobs and

shots of liquor.

She had many intimacies with strangers. She panicked after Allan's death,

did not know she what she was doing and eventually ended up in trouble with

the seventeen-year-old. She found hope when she met Mitch, but the past

caught up with her. "You lied to me, Blanche," is all Mitch can say. In her

heart she never lied to him, Blanche replies. Mitch is unmoved.

A blind Mexican woman comes around the corner with bunches of tin owers

used at Mexican funerals. "Flores. Flores para los muertos," the woman

intones. (Flowers. Flowers for the dead.) Blanche goes to the door, opens

it, sees and hears the woman (who calls to her and offers her owers), and

slams the door, terrified. The woman moves slowly down the street, calling.

We hear the polka tune again.

Blanche begins to speak as if she were thinking out loud. Her lines are

punctuated by the Mexican woman's calls. Her tortured soliloquy mentions

regrets, legacies, death, her dying parents, death and agony everywhere,

desire as the opposite of death, the soldiers from the nearby camp who

staggered drunkenly onto her lawn and called for her while her deaf mother

slept. The polka music fades. Wanting what he's been waiting for all

summer, Mitch walks up to her, places his hands on her waist and tries to

embrace her.

Blanche says he must marry her first. Mitch doesn't want to marry her; he

does not think she's fit to live in the same house as his mother. Blanche

orders him to leave. When he does not move, she threatens to scream 'Fire.'

He still does not leave, so she screams out the window. Mitch hurries out.

Scene 10 Summary

A few hours have elapsed since Mitch's departure. Blanche's trunk is out in

the middle of the bedroom. She has been packing, drinking, trying on

clothes and speaking to imaginary admirers. Stanley enters the apartment,

slams the door and gives a low whistle when he sees Blanche. Blanche asks

about her sister. The baby won't be born until tomorrow, says Stanley. It's

just the two of them at home tonight.

Stanley asks why Blanche is all dressed up. She tells him that she has just

received a telegram from an old admirer inviting her to join him on his

yacht in the Caribbean. It was the oil millionaire she met again in Miami.

Stanley plays along. In high spirits, he opens a bottle of beer on the

corner of the table and pours the foam on his head. He offers her a sip but

she declines.

He goes to the bedroom to find his special pajamas top in anticipation of

the good news from the hospital. Blanche keeps talking, feverishly working

herself up as she describes what a gentleman this man is and how he merely

wants the companionship of an intelligent, spirited, tender, cultured


She may be poor financially, but she is rich in these qualities. And she

has been foolishly lavishing these offerings on those who do not deserve

them{ as she puts it, casting her pearls before swine. Stanley's amicable

mood evaporates.

Blanche claims that she sent Mitch away after he repeated slanderous lies

that Stanley had told him. He came groveling back, with roses and

apologies, but in vain. She cannot forgive "deliberate cruelty," and

realistically the two of them are too difierent in attitude and upbringing

for it ever to work.

Stanley cuts in with a question that trips up her improvisation. Then he

launches an attack, tearing down her make-believe world point by point. She

can make no reply but, "Oh!" He finishes with a disdainful laugh and walks

through the bedroom on into the bathroom. Frightening shadows and re

ections appear in the room. Blanche goes to the phone and tries to make a

call to her "admirer." She does not know his number or his address. The

operator hangs up; Blanche leaves the phone off the hook and walks into the


The special efiects continue: inhuman voices, terrifying shadows. A strange

scene takes place on a sidewalk beyond the back wall of the rooms (which

has suddenly become transparent). A drunkard and a prostitute scufie until

a police whistle sounds and they disappear. Soon thereafter the Negro woman

comes around the corner ri ing through the prostitute's purse.

Blanche returns to the phone and whispers to the operator to connect her to

Western Union. She tries to send a telegraph: "In desperate, desperate

circumstances. Help me! Caught in a trap. Caught in{".... She breaks off

when Stanley emerges from the bathroom in his special pajamas. He stares at

her, grinning. Then crosses over to the phone and replaces it on the hook.

Still grinning, he steps between Blanche and the door. She asks him to move

and he takes one step to the side. She asks him to move further away but he

will not. The jungle voices well up again as he slowly advances towards

her. Blanche tells him to stay back but he continues towards her. She backs

away, grabs a bottle, and smashes the end of it on the table. He jumps at

her, grabs her arm when she swings at him, and forces her to drop the


"We've had this date from the beginning," he says. She sinks to her knees.

He picks her up and carries her to the bed.

Scene 11 Summary

A few weeks later. Stella is packing Blanche's belongings while Blanche

takes a bath. Stella has been crying. The men are assembled in the kitchen

playing poker. Of them, only Mitch does not seem to be in the usual card-

playing bull and bravado mood. Eunice comes downstairs and enters the


Eunice calls them callous and goes over to Stella. Stella tells Eunice she

is not sure she did the right thing. She told Blanche that they had

arranged for her to stay in the country, and Blanche seemed to think it had

to do with her millionaire admirer. Stella couldn't believe the story

Blanche told her about the rape and still continue her life with Stanley.

Eunice comforts her.

It was the only thing Stella could do, and she should never believe the

story. "Life has got to go on," Eunice says.

The men continue playing poker. Blanche emerges from the bathroom to the

strains of the by-now familiar waltz. Stella and Eunice are gentle and

complimenting; Blanche has a slightly unhinged vivacity. The sound of

Blanche's voice sends Mitch into a daydream until Stanley snaps him out of

it. Stanley's voice from the kitchen stuns Blanche. She remains still for a

few moments, then with a rising hysteria demands to know what is going on.

The women quiet and soothe her and the men restrain Stanley from


She is appeased for the moment, but anxious to leave. The other women

convince her to wait a moment yet. Blanche goes into a reverie, imagining

her death at sea from food poisoning with a handsome young ship's doctor at

her side.

The doctor and nurse arrive. Eunice goes to see who's at the door. Blanche

waits tensely, hoping that it is Shep Huntleigh, her millionaire savior.

Eunice returns and announces that someone is calling for Blanche. The waltz

begins again. Blanche and Stella pass through the kitchen and cross to the

door. The poker players stand as she passes, except for Mitch, who stares

at the table. When Blanche steps out onto the porch and sees the doctor,

and not Shep Huntleigh, she retreats to where Stella is standing, then

slips back into the apartment. Inside, Stanley steps up to block her way.

Blanche rushes around him, claiming she forgot something, as the weird re

ections and shadows return. The doctor sends the nurse in after her. What

follows is a wrenching capture scene, which Stella cannot bear to watch.

She rushes to the porch, where Eunice goes to comfort her. The nurse

succeeds in pinning Blanche. The doctor enters, and at Blanche's soft

request tells the nurse to release her. The doctor leads her out of the

bedroom, she holding onto his arm.

"Whoever you are," she says, "I have always depended on the kindness of

strangers." The doctor leads her through the kitchen as the poker players

look on. They head out the door and onto the porch. Stella, now crouched on

the porch in agony, calls out her sister's name. Blanche, allowing herself

to be led onward, does not turn to look at Stella. Doctor, nurse, and

Blanche turn the corner and disappear. Eunice brings the baby to Stella and

thrusts it into her arms, then goes to the kitchen to join the men. Stanley

goes out onto the porch and over to Stella, who sobs over her child. He

comforts her and begins to caress her. In the kitchen, Steve deals a new


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