Scene 1

In Scene 1, we focused on the theme of ‘Strangers’ and how Blanche, arriving in New Orleans, was ‘a stranger in a strange land.’


  • Scene opens with elaborate description of Elysian Fields, two-storey flat in New Orleans
    • Elysian Fields —> resting place of Greek heroes in Ancient Greek mythology
    • Stanley & Stella: bottom floor, Eunice & Steve top floor. Perhaps shows that their relationship will develop to become like Eunice and Steve’s.
  • Audience introduced to the ‘cosmopolitan’ city as well as the music of the ‘blue piano’
  • Introduced symbolically to the characteristics of Stanley: “Caveman”
    • Enters with bold colors (bowling jacket), work clothes, carrying meat from the butcher’s
    • Bellows to Stella, throws package at her, which she catches breathlessly
      • Sex connotations
    • Audience’s first impression is that he is a crude, uncouth man
  • Williams often dress his most degenerate characters in white — symbol of purity that can easily be tainted. Shows his view of them being precious, fragile things?
    • e.g. Chance Wayne — Sweet Bird in youth. Sebastian — Suddenly, Last Summer
  • Blanche saying she took a “Streetcar named Desire, one called Cemeteries and arrive at Elysian Fields…”
    • Major foreshadowing; implying desire might lead her to her death/grave, but she will die as a (perhaps unsung, but nevertheless) heroine
    • Foreshadowing of Blanche’s past showing lack of control that may lead to one’s downfall
  • Blanche & Stella’s first meeting reveals Blanche’s unstable mind/state
    • Blanche DuBois: White (of the) Woods
    • Stella DuBois: Star (of the) Woods
    • ‘Turn that over-light off!’ — reference to Blanche’s fear from the light, avoiding it. Unlike a moth, but in this case it’s to show her fear.
      • Light might represent her past/the too-bright, overwhelming reality. Instead she prefers the dim, illusionary/fantasy world of her own
  • Alcohol: symbol of escape, relies on it to calm herself down. Intoxication

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