Essay on Blanche DuBois as Butterfly in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire

Essay on Blanche DuBois as Butterfly in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire

Length: 2347 words (6.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Research Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Portrayal of Blanche as Butterfly or Moth in A Streetcar Named Desire     


  In A Streetcar named Desire, Williams uses description and dialog to develop the play’s characters. In the beginning of the play, Williams describes Blanche as a "moth". A moth and a butterfly seem to be very similar; however, they have very different outward appearances and habits. A butterfly is very "showy " as it flits throughout life, whereas a moth tries hard not to bring attention to itself. Butterflies are open and very visible, but a moth is nocturnal and secretive. The American Heritage Dictionary defines a butterfly as "a person interested principally in frivolous pleasure"; a self-centered person intent on pleasure (line 2). Although Williams describes Blanch as a moth, his use of description and dialog bring out sexual undertones that portray Blanche to be a butterfly instead of a moth.

In Scene I of A Streetcar Named Desire, Williams writes--

Her appearance is incongruous in this setting. She is daintily dressed in a

white suit with a fluffy bodice, necklace, and earrings of pearl, white gloves

and hat, looking as if she were arriving at a summer tea or cocktail party in

the garden district…There is something about her uncertain manner, as well

as her clothes, that suggests a moth. (qtd. In Bloom 51)

Williams’s description leads others to perceive Blanche as an insecure, unassuming person, a typical Southern Belle-- a moth. Although the color of Blanche’s clothing suggests simplicity, the style of her clothing contrasts with the surrounding environment. Blanche is wearing this attire as she arrives at her sister’s home. Her sister lives in a run- down three-room apartment. The apartment contains th...


... middle of paper ...


...erpretations of A Streetcar Named Desire: a Collection of Critical Essays.  Ed. Jordan Y. Miller.  New

         Jersey: Prentice, 1971.

Monarch Notes. "Works of Tennessee Williams." Williams, Tennessee, 1 Jan. 1963

(http://www.elibrary.com/s/edu mark/search).

Preston, Rohan. "Actors Rev Up a Gritty, High-Octane ‘Streetcar’" Minneapolis StarTribune. 3 March 1999, 04E.

"Streetcar’s Fiftieth Anniversary" All Things Considered. NPR. WWNO, New Orleans. 1 Dec. 1997.

The American Heritage Dictionary, CD-ROM. Microsoft Bookshelf 98. Microsoft Corp. 1987-97.

Williams, Dakin and Shephard Mead. Tennessee Williams: An Intimate Biography. New York:  Arbor House, 1998.

Williams, Tennessee. "A Streetcar Named Desire" a New Directions Book, copyright 1947. Canada: Penguin, 1980.

Williams, Tennessee. Memoirs. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1975.

 

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about The Tragic Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire

- Tennessee Williams has become one of the best known literary figures on the American Scene and also one of the most controversial. A Streetcar Named Desire is a 1947 play opened on Broadway on December 3,1947, and closed on December 17, 1949, in the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. While recognizing his compassion for frustrated and sensitive persons trapped in a highly competitive, commercial world, question whether he has not sacrificed his talent for popular success (Mood 43). “He [Williams] continued this study with Blanche Dubois of A Streetcar Named Desire (1947).” Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire is epitome of full-bodied male pulchritude and Williams’ most radiant symbol of viri...   [tags: A Streetcar Named Desire Essays]

Research Papers
1713 words (4.9 pages)

The Tragic Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire Essay

- “Tragic characters are “efficient” only in courting, suffering and encompassing their own destruction.” (Gassner 463). Fitting Gassner’s definition of a tragic character, Blanche DuBois in Tennessee William’s A Streetcar Named Desire caustically leads herself to her own downfall. In the beginning of the play, Blanche DuBois, a “belle of the old South” (Krutch 40), finds herself at the footsteps of her sister and brother-in-law’s shabby apartment in New Orleans. Although DuBois portrays herself as a refined and sophisticated woman, the reader soon comes to realize that, hiding beneath all the pearls and jewels, is a raw and unstable character....   [tags: A Streetcar Named Desire Essays]

Research Papers
1678 words (4.8 pages)

Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williamʼs A Streetcar Named Desire Essay

- I would like to analyze a tragic heroine Blanche DuBois appearing in a play A Streetcar Named Desire (1947) written by Tennessee Williams. My intention is to concentrate on the most significant features of her nature and behaviour and also on various external aspects influencing her life and resulting in her nervous breakdown. I would like to discuss many themes related to this character, such as loss, desire and longing for happiness, beauty and youth, pretension, lies and imagination, dependence on men and alcoholism....   [tags: A Streetcar Named Desire Essays]

Research Papers
1516 words (4.3 pages)

Analysis Of ' A Streetcar Named Desire ' Essay

- A Streetcar Named Desire sets the decaying values of the antebellum South against those of the new America. The civil, kindly ways of Blanche’s past are a marked contrast to the rough, dynamic New Orleans inhabited by Stella and Stanley, which leads Tennessee Williams’s “tragedy of incomprehension” (qtd. in Alder, 48). The central protagonist, Blanche, has many flaws; she lies, is vain and deceitful, yet can be witty and sardonic. These multifaceted layers balance what Jessica Tandy, who played Blanche in the first stage production in 1947, “saw as her ‘pathetic elegance’ ....   [tags: A Streetcar Named Desire, Blanche DuBois]

Research Papers
1092 words (3.1 pages)

A Streetcar Named Desire By Tennessee Williams Essay

- Tennessee Williams in A Streetcar Named Desire creates one of the most profound accounts of desire versus death; in doing so he designs Blanche Dubois whose only wish is to be desired. Unfortunately in this tragedy death prevails over desire. The two elements of death and desire as binaries are not able to to exist without each other, and this idea is manifested throughout the main character, Blanche Dubois. Blanche uses her fantasies as a shield; and her desires as her motivation to survive. Her fading beauty being her only asset and chance of finding stability....   [tags: A Streetcar Named Desire, Blanche DuBois]

Research Papers
980 words (2.8 pages)

Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire - Blanche DuBois' Fragile Psyche

- Blanche’s Fragile Psyche in A Streetcar Named Desire       "Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire is to some extent living an unreal existence," according to Jonathan Briggs, book critic for the Clay County Freepress. In Tennessee Williams' play, A Streetcar Named Desire, the readers are introduced to a character named Blanche DuBois. Blanche is Stella's younger sister who has come to visit Stella and her husband Stanley in New Orleans. After their first meeting Stanley develops a strong dislike for Blanche and for everything associated with her....   [tags: A Streetcar Named Desire Essays]

Research Papers
1550 words (4.4 pages)

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

- 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....   [tags: Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire]

Free Essays
693 words (2 pages)

Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire - Character of Blanche DuBois

- Blanche Dubious and A Streetcar Named Desire            Blanche Dubious, appropriately dressed in white, is first introduced as a symbol of innocence and chastity. Aristocratic, refined, and sensitive, this delicate beauty has a moth-like appearance. She has come to New Orleans to seek refuge at the home of her sister Stella and her coarse Polish husband, Stanley. With her nervous and refined nature, Blanche is a clear misfit in the Kowalski's apartment. Blanche represents a deep-seated attachment to the past....   [tags: A Streetcar Named Desire Essays]

Free Essays
962 words (2.7 pages)

Essay about The Madness of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire

- Tennessee Williams wrote about Blanche DuBois: 'She was a demonic character; the size of her feelings was too great for her to contain without the escape of madness.' Williams uses Blanche DuBois as a vehicle to explore several themes that interested him, one of these being madness. His own sister, Rose, was lobotomised in his absence and later institutionalised leading many critics to believe that the character of Blanche may have arisen from events in his own life. Blanche's tragic past involving both the death of her "young" husband and her consequent promiscuity with "young men" created an overwhelming amount of emotion for Blanche, which, as Williams suggests, "was too great for her to...   [tags: Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire]

Research Papers
1929 words (5.5 pages)

Decline of Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire

- The Unnecessary Decline of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire             Upon reviewing the drama, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, it would appear that the character of Blanche DuBois is worthy of closer inspection.  With her previous occupation as a teacher of American literature and her former social status being that of a well-bred woman of the very traditional Old South, Blanche could be any human being transferring from one culture to another with customs far different from the ones being left behind.  Even today it could happen that someone is suddenly confronted with a totally new and different value system with which he must learn to cope in order to be a...   [tags: A Streetcar Named Desire Essays]

Research Papers
2043 words (5.8 pages)