A Streetcar Named Desire: Sympathy for Blanche Essay

A Streetcar Named Desire: Sympathy for Blanche Essay

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The arts stir emotion in audiences. Whether it is hate or humor, compassion or confusion, passion or pity, an artist's goal is to construct a particular feeling in an individual. Tennessee Williams is no different. In A Streetcar Named Desire, the audience is confronted with a blend of many unique emotions, perhaps the strongest being sympathy. Blanch Dubois is presented as the sympathetic character in Tennessee William's A Streetcar Named Desire as she battles mental anguish, depression, failure and disaster.

During scene one, the audience is introduced to Blanche as Stella's sister, who is going to stay with her for a while. Blanch tries her best to act normal and hide her emotion from her sister, but breaks down at the end of scene one explaining to Stella how their old home, the Belle Reve, was "lost." It is inferred that the home had to be sold to cover the massive funeral expenses due to the many deaths of members of the Dubois family. As Blanche whines to her sister, "All of those deaths! The parade to the graveyard! Father, mother! Margaret, that dreadful way!" (21). The audience sees this poor aging woman, who has lost so many close to her, and now her home where she grew up. How could anyone look at her, and not feel the pain and suffering that she has to deal with by herself? Williams wants the audience to see what this woman has been through and why she is acting the way she is. Blanche's first love was also taken from her. It seems that everyone she loves is dead except for her sister. Death plays a crucial role in Blanche's depression and other mental irregularities. While these circumstances are probably enough for the audience to feel sympathy for Blanche, Williams takes it a step further when we see Blanche's...


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...ehavior is after her and Stanley have an inappropriate encounter (possibly raped her). After that point the audience knew that after that point, Blanche could no longer stay at Stella and Stanley's apartment. Considering all of these circumstances, how can any rational being claim that anyone but Blanche is the sympathetic character?

In conclusion, the story of Blanch Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire is a very sad and pitiful one. Williams stirs the audience's emotions and basically begs them to show Blanch sympathy. I also believe that many people feel as Blanche did, alone, worthless, yet trying desperately to cover their emotion, which reaches out to the viewers in a more personal way. There could not be a more rattling ending than to see old pitiful Blanch dragged off to a nut house, leaving the audience in the same mood Blanche herself would have been.

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