Scene 7

The key points we explored in scene 7 were: binaries/contrast, revelation and Blanche’s downfall.

Binaries in the scene:


General Notes:

  • Blanche is bathing… again. May be her version of ‘the Fountain of Youth’, keeping her young by cleaning etc.
    • ‘Breathless cries and peals of laughter are heard as if a child were frolicking in the tub.’ Stuck in the mindset of a child (fountain of youth). Innocence. Shows her mental deterioration, grown woman acting like this = disturbing
  • Stanley’s sarcasm + use of sobriquets (labels/tags); ‘In fact, they were so impressed that they asked Dame Blanche…’
    • Dame — a title used to address an accomplished/knighted woman, the female counterpart of ‘Sir’
    • Sister — refers to a nun. Nunnery is often associated with virginity and lifelong celibacy
    • Lily — associated with death, but it is a white flower. May symbolise purity and innocence
      • All these sobriquets are ironic and hypocritical, as she is none of these things. Hence, Stanley uses them to highlight Blanche’s mistakes and mock his perceived image of her through sarcasm
      • Constant conflict with Blanche throughout play, so he sounds super bitter here
  • ‘Regarded not just as different, but downright loco — nuts.’
    • The first explicit reference we have of her mental state. Stanley puts it very indelicately; shows he has no sympathy towards her, and seems to enjoy Blanche’s (past) exile and her current suffering
    • Stella denies the ‘rumours’ about Blanche except this part about her mental state
  • Theriopomorphism + animalistic elements
    • ‘Some canary-bird!’  (-Stanley) ’She was always — flighty!’  (-Stella) Like a bird always trying to escape. Stanley also mocks her and describes her like she’s an animal. Link to parrot story in scene 8.
    • ‘Caught again’ ‘Had her on the hook good and proper’ Fishing line, to Stanley Blanche is the prey being hunted
    • ‘He’s not going to jump in a tank with a school of sharks!’ ironic because readers may think of Stanley as the predator
      • Suggests that this whole conflict/struggle is of a carnal nature, like a brawl in the wilderness
  • ‘Degenerate’ — a words used to describe homosexual people. Maybe Williams reflecting on his own experiences.
  • ‘How many candles are you putting in that cake?’ ‘[Stanley] he lights a cigarette’
    • Candles: like they’re casting light on her reality and Stanley is holding the truth
  • ‘She’s not stayin’ here after Tuesday. She’ll go on a bus and like it.’
    • Shows his sadistic/cruel nature, gains pleasure from seeing Blanche suffer (see short essay sample written)
    • Here, it’s clear that he’s the antagonist and catalyst of Blanche’s destruction
    • Dominant nature — imperatives and ordering around, leaving no room for discussion. Stella tries to fight his decision but she fails: shows he wins all arguments
  • ‘ Her future is mapped out for her’ — link to the celestial imagery/theme of fate
  • ‘Distant piano goes into a hectic breakdown’
    • Shows Blanche’s panic and confusion. ‘Breakdown’ might even literally signify her mental breakdown of being in ‘the dark’ about Stella and Stanley’s conversation.

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