The Smbolisms of the Name, Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire

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In the first few scenes of "A Streetcar Named Desire", Tennessee Williams shows us a complex woman, named Blanche Dubois. This paper will explore the symbolisms of her name. The name Blanche is French and means white or fair. Her last name DuBois is of French origin as well and translates as “made of wood”. The name suggests that Blanche is a very innocent and pure person. When she appears in scene one, “she is daintily dressed in a white suit with a fluffy bodice, necklace and earrings of pearl, white gloves and a hat…” (Sc.1 p. 2073). White is also the color of light and represents perfection and virginity but throughout the play it becomes obvious that Blanche cannot call any of the traits of her name her own. She is a seductive and promiscuous woman. Only the illusory image, which she tries to create for herself, suggests these traits, but her true nature is not like that at all. She constantly tries to hide her embarrassing past from her new acquaintances, because she fears that they might not accept her anymore. In order to maintain her apparent social status among her new neighbors and friends, she builds an intertwined net of lies, which creates a false image of her. She believes in this imaginary world, and as soon as there is the slightest sign of destruction, she seems to be lost, and her nervous condition worsens. Therefore all she cares about is to keep that image alive. Her first name is therefore quite ironic since it means the exact opposite of Blanche’s true nature and character. Her last name, however, stands in contrast to her first name. Made of wood suggests something solid and hard, which is the exact opposite of her fragile nature and nervous condition. Wood can also be associated with forest or jungle, and regarding her past, the connection becomes clear. Blanche indulges in a rather excessive lifestyle. She has sex with random strangers and is known throughout her hometown of Laurel for that. Her former life is more like a jungle or a forest, because it is hard to see through all this and detect the real Blanche. As in a jungle, Blanche cannot find a way out of this on her own. The term jungle appears in the play as well. In scene ten, when Stanley is about to rape Blanche, “the inhuman jungle voices rise up” (Sc.10 p. 2130). The jungle can be associated with wildness, brutality and inhuman behavior. As mentioned about, wood represents something hard, or hard working. The Du in front of that however, suggests something

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