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A Streetcar Named Desire - Scene Ten


Scene Index / Study Guide for A Streetcar Named Desire.

It has been a rough night for Blanche Dubois.

Her sister's husband ruined her chances at love by spreading rumors (mostly true) about her. Her boyfriend dumped her. She is frightfully worried about her sister Stella who is at the hospital, about to deliver a baby. And to top it all off, Scene Ten of a Streetcar Named Desire finds Blanche wildly intoxicated.

Prompted by a combination of alcohol and mental instability, Blanche imagines that she is hosting a high class party, surrounded by amorous admirers.

Stanley Kowalski interrupts her hallucination. He has just returned from the hospital. The baby will not be delivered until the morning, so he plans to get some sleep before going back to the hospital. He too appears to have been drinking, and when he opens up a bottle of beer, spilling it's contents over his arms and torso, he says, "Shall we bury the hatchet and make it a loving-cup?"

Blanche is terrified by his advances. She correctly perceives that his predatory nature is focuses on her. To make herself seem powerful (or perhaps simply because her fragile mental state has made her delusional), Blanche tells several lies. She states that her old friend, an oil tycoon, has sent her a wired invitation to travel to the Caribbean. She also fabricates a story about her ex-boyfriend, Mitch, saying that he returned to beg forgiveness. however, according to her lie, she turned him away, believing that their background were too incompatible.

This is the final straw for Stanley. In the most explosive moment of the play, he declares:

STANLEY: There isn't a damn thing but imagination, and lies, and tricks! [ ... ] I've been on to you from the start. Not once did you pull the wool over my eyes.
After yelling at her, he goes into the bathroom and slams the door. The stage directions indicate very specific actions and sounds that take place outside the apartment

A woman laughs insanely while running through the street.

A man in a tuxedo chases after the woman who violently slaps him.

Several men attack each other

All of these disturbing events suggest how drunken violence and erratic passion are common in this setting. In a feeble attempt to call for help, Blanche picks up the phone and asks the operator to connect her with the oil tycoon, but of course it is futile.

Stanley exits the bathroom, dressed in silk pajamas. Blanche is now desperate and wants to get out. she goes into the bedroom, shutting the draped behind her, as if they could serve as a barricade. Stanley follows, openly admitting that he wants to "interfere" with her.

Blanche smashes a bottle and threatens to twist the broken glass into his face. this seems to only amuse and intake Stanley further. he grabs her hand, twisting it behind her and then picks her up, carrying her to the bed, The stage directions call for a quick fade out, but the audience is well aware that Stanley Kowalski is about to rape Blanche DuBois.

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