Scene 5

We explored how a threatening atmosphere is established in scene 5. We also linked Aristotle’s 3 Unities to the play.


  • ‘Suddenly she bursts into a peal of laughter.’
    • Sudden reaction, erratic movement
    • Laughing for seemingly no reason — usually associated with extreme fatigue/lunacy, ‘can’t think straight’.
  • ‘Myself, myself, for being a liar! I’m writing a letter to Shep.’
    • Shep represents her imaginary/ideal man — fantasy vs. reality worlds Blanche seem to live in
    • Letter soon loses track —> Blanche starts talking about her sister’s ‘cocktail parties’ etc.
    • Blanche describing her ideal world and life.
  • Eunice & Steve’s ‘argument’, ‘There is a murmur of thunder’ ‘sobbing luxuriously’
    • Pathetic fallacy used as a foreshadowing tool, menacing atmosphere.
    • Storm —> link to Blanche’s monologue. Luxuriously —> as if enjoying the drama.
    • Mirroring Stella and Stanley’s relationship, used to show that it’s a normal occurrence in New Orleans
    • Blanche’s ‘[brightly] Did he kill her?’ — twisted sentence to say, as if she’s been desensitised because of the constant exposure to domestic violence. Sounds bloodthirsty, as if now Blanche is looking forward to other people’s demise.
    • ‘Inanimate object’ — represents Stella? Who is passive/takes the hits
  • ‘Stanley comes round the corner in his green and scarlet silk bowling shirt.’
    • Scarlet —> anger/passion, green —> envy
    • Primary colours, bold —> shows dominance through attention-grabbing, gaudy fashion haha. Shows masculinity. Resembles a tropical bird flaunting its colors to seek mates
    • Silk; an expensive material. Perhaps trying to look less ‘common’ because of what Blanche said.
  • Stanley stage directions; ‘stomp’ ‘bang’ ‘trot’ ‘slam’
    • Loud and forceful noises, building up threat with the aggressiveness, terrorising since Blanche is in a sensitive state
    • Trot: a positive gesture, as if Stanley knows he has already won. Also an action associated with animal, like prancing about carelessly
  • Horoscopes mentioned: ‘Capricorn’ and ‘Virgo’
    • Capricorn: stereotypes say they’re stubborn
    • Virgo: represents virginity — Stanley laughs at it (Hah!), as if he knows it’s not true
  • Blanche’s rant with Stella, page 53 in book. SO MUCH TO SAY ABOUT THIS!!! Please go back and annotate in detail
    • Shows how much women were dependent on men in those days. ‘Men don’t admit your existence unless you are making love to them,’ shows how much she was mistreated
    • ‘Soft people have got to — shimmer and glow — and put a paper lantern over the light…’
      • Alludes to having to cover up her past. The paper lantern may symbolise the front/facade/exterior she puts up. But being made of paper means it’s flimsy and won’t last.
      • I — I’m fading now,’ Blanche may be aware that she is not fooling everyone. Foreshadowing? Otherwise this might be irony as she’s not supposed to know Stanley is making an effort to bring her demise
    • ‘The colours of butterfly wings…’
      • Represents what she desires. Longs to be beautiful. Continuing the extended metaphor of ‘moth’, Blanche wants to be a butterfly because they’re more attractive.
      • Moths are considered as pests while butterflies are treated with care because of their wings. Positive connotations whenever butterflies are mentioned. Blanche’s mistreatment.
      • Link to ‘Butterfly Effect’ — one small action can lead to bigger implications.
    • First true sign of sisterhood b/w Blanche and Stella
      • The first time Blanche opens up to Stella: Blanche revealing more about herself. But Stella is embarrassed, and admits that ‘she’s not listening’ when Blanche is being morbid.
      • ‘It makes it seem more like home’ — suggests that Blanche has always been the dominating one in the household back in Belle Reve, while Stella remains as passive as ever. Grew up in Blanche’s shadow.
        • Maybe New Orleans, therefore, is a new start for her — even though it’s worse in terms of conditions, at least Stella is more independent
  • ‘Blanche gives a piercing cry’ upon spilling coke
    • Stain: symbolises her illicit history, can’t be rubbed off, as if she’s ‘tainted’ or corrupted by New Orleans
    • Coke resembles the colour of blood, a reminder of her husband’s death?
  • Blanche’s encounter with the newspaper boy (See A3 Poster for more detail)
    • ‘I must keep my hands off children’  hinting at her past perhaps? As if someone has told her to do that
    • Stranger in a strange land —> Negro Woman’s actions mirror Blanche’s but we see hers as really weird
    • ‘Eternity’: once mentioned in a previous chapter. Why is it capitalised? Blanche talks about time, perhaps she thought time would heal her scars but it didn’t. Might refer to the after-life
    • May be flirting with the boy as she wants to feel younger — clinging to youth/virginity
  • Mitch rounds the corner, ‘Ah, my Rosenkavelier!’
    • Rosenkavelier: a portmanteau, meaning ‘Knight of the Rose.’ It is also a comic opera by Richard Strauss
    • Dramatic irony as Mitch doesn’t know Blanche has just been flirting with a young boy. Puts up a prim and proper front
      • Has to deceive him to be ‘desired’ because Blanche thinks he’s her only chance of salvation. Desire to escape

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