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Blanche DuBois' Monologue from "Streetcar"

By March 11, 2011

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Every scene of Tennessee Williams' masterpiece reveals a great deal about the faded southern belle, Blanche DuBois. But no moment is more confessional than Blanche's monologue in Scene Five.

BLANCHE: When people are soft - soft people have got to court the favor of hard ones, Stella. Have got to be seductive - put on soft colors, the colors of butterfly wings, and glow - make a little - temporary magic just in order to pay for - one night's shelter! That's why I've been - not so awf'ly good lately. I've run for protection, Stella, from under one leaky roof to another leaky roof - because it was storm - all storm, and I was - caught in the center. (Pause.) People don't see you - men don't - don't even admit your existence unless they are making love to you.

In the above monologue, Blanche is trying to confide something upsetting and shameful. For the past two years (perhaps longer) it seems as though Blanche has been offering her body in exchange for temporary security (very temporary, it would seem). However, Stella refuses to pay attention because Blanche's words are too morbid. This exchange between them represents a significant moment; Stella is now beginning to detach emotionally from her sister. Blanche's problems are becoming too complex and disturbing to deal with. Like Blanche who seeks security from men, Stella will soon be siding more and more with her husband in subsequent scenes.

Read the Study Guide to Scene Five of A Streetcar Named Desire.

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