Scene 6

We identified the uses of irony and symbolism peppered within scene 6, and related these to the play as a whole.

General Notes:

  • Dramatic irony: When an audience is aware of something that the character is not
    • e.g. Mitch treating Blanche as a virginal teenager when she was just harassing the newspaper boy before
  • Tragic irony: When a character’s actions lead to consequences beyond their desire/intentions
    • e.g. Blanche’s flirtations — her desire to be loved but the consequence of her actions is the opposite because she gets treated badly
  • Theme: big concepts, usually runs through the entire work. Motif: small things, recurring symbols.
  • Neurasthenic: a psychological disorder that causes fatigue and lack of motivation. May also cause feelings of inadequacy
  • Mae West: an American film actor known for her beauty
  • Varsouviana: a genre of music that accompanies the polka dance, which has origins from Poland. Link to Stanley?
  • Symbolism:
    • Paper doll
    • Moth/Butterfly
    • Paper Lantern
    • Light/Shadows
    • Celestial images/stars
    • Blue piano
    • Roses
    • Streetcar


  • ‘Carnival games of chance’
    • As if Blanche’s only chance of rescue is a game of chance. Link to the theme of fate/stars?
    • A fantasy-like reference. Adds to the fantasy vs reality theme running throughout the play. Almost dreamy
    • As if all these relationships were just games to her, and Mitch would end up being no different
    • Childish connotations; maybe Blanche tried to relive her youth, or to imply innocence
      • Mitch may think she’d like innocent games, but Blanche has grown up hence why she didn’t enjoy it as much
      • Mitch carrying the bear for her; shows his gentlemanly disposition
  • ‘(laughing grimly) Is that streetcar named Desire still grinding… at this hour?’
    • Streetcar symbolises passion/love etc. Maybe Blanche sarcastically asking if it’s still present after her date failed.
    • ‘Rise to the occasion’ — sexual reference
    • This scene makes it clear to the audience that the two are just not meant for each other. Dramatic irony
      • Later they also talk about their weights. Very awkward. Lots of awkward quotes to pick out, so have fun.
  • ‘I’m looking for the Pleiades, the Seven sisters, but these girls are not out tonight.’
    • Stars: symbolises her escape, ties in with the rocket reference in scene 1 or 2 about escaping as well, and fate in scene 5. Maybe now unattainable since she failed with Mitch.
    • Links to horoscopes in scene 5
    • Constellations: (see Yara’s PPT for more detail)
  • ‘Honey, it wasn’t the kiss I objected to. It was the other familiarity I felt obligated to discourage!’
    • ‘Somewhat flattered that you desire me!’: lexis used is very deliberate, to maintain theme of play
    • Rejected Mitch —> tries to keep up the pretense of being pure/virginal teenager, prim and proper.
      • Dramatic irony since readers are aware of her promiscuity in the past
  • ‘Then she bursts into laughter and then claps a hand to her mouth.’
    • Claps a hand to her mouth —> like she’s putting on an act (which she is) and is about to be exposed. Even Blanche finds it ridiculous that she’s pretending to be pure.
    • Bursts — again, sudden movement
  • ‘Let’s leave the lights off, shall we?’
    • Her insecurities showing up, wants to hide in the dark whenever she’s around Mitch. Doesn’t let him see her properly to conceal her imperfections
    • Alcohol, symbolises escape/forgetting about reality/drive away tension (but usually only serves to build it up in the eyes of the readers). Blanche wants to get drunk to relax her nerves.
  • ‘We are going to pretend that we are sitting in a little café on the Left Bank in Paris!’
    • Paris —> a romantic city. Playing roles there is a part of her fantasy world that projects her dreams/ideal world
    • Starts speaking French: Blanche revealing her true intentions, while all along she was putting up an illusion
      • ‘Vous voulez coucher avec moi?’ literally means do you want to sleep with me.
      • Also patronising because she knows Mitch can’t speak it. A personal joke to her.
  • ‘I talked to my mother and she asked how old you were. I wasn’t able to tell her’
    • Clear that Mitch barely knows the true Blanche. Also shows how serious he is to marry her.
  • Blanche’s confession!!! Her cathartic moment, pouring her heart out to Mitch
    • ‘It was like you suddenly turned a blinding light on something that had always half been in the shadows…’
      • Light: represents the truth, shadows: things she knows. Shocking, like a spotlight (*Add more)
    • ‘He was in the quicksands and clutching at me — but I was slipping in with him!’
      • Alan wanted her to save him, but she was unaware of it so she fell for it, too. They mirror each other.
      • Quicksand: society not accepting them for who they are. Maybe Blanche is similar to Alan now in the way that she is seeking acceptance or an antidote for the trauma, someone to get her out of the quicksand.
    • Varsouviana/polka music (*Add more)
      • Plays in a loop whenever Blanche remembers about Alan. Gets louder as her mental state worsens, and always ends in a gunshot. Later, Blanche asks about it to Mitch, about ‘music playing in her head’. Represents insanity
  • Polka tune fades out once Mitch kisses her on her forehead
    • Shows that Mitch’s presence calms her down, like he’s her antidote. Able to stop the chaos in her head.

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