A Streetcar Named Desire: Scene 11 Nightwork Question

I might also post some thoughts on homework too.

“When the doctor escorts Blanche out of the house, Blanche delivers her famous line: “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” Why does she say this? Do you think that this departure is a defeat or a victory for Blanche?

Is the resolution of the play a defeat or victory for Stanley and Stella?

(In other words, do the characters sustain their values, even if the ending is not pleasant?)

Defend your answer.”

She says this because she thinks the doctor is some sort of princely savior to her. This parting remark reflects her true nature. She is a needy, insecure character who needs to be treated with pompous compliments, proper respect and noble gestures. She seeks kindness from strangers, because she is unable to stand for herself. She has lost her husband, she has debased her reputation by participating in illicit activities, and mostly of all, she has lost everything. In response to such a dire situation, she attempts to manifest a projection of outwardliness towards others in a futile attempt to make others closer to her. This behavior is characterized by a need to express a longing for someone, somebody to take care of her. However, her overzealous attempts instead result in distancing herself from authentic people like Mitch. Blanche chooses not to be open and honest about her feelings, this results in a discordance between her and Mitch.  Mitch is a character who seeks an individual who is equal to him, someone who can stand with him, someone who he can be proud of being with, and that is partially due to the fact that he has a wailing mother who he wants to take care of.

Blanche is highly dependent on others, as a result she tries endlessly to bewitch others with limited success. She uses prostitution in order to keep herself alive, but as the days past, she becomes more fragile with time.  As her charm dissipates more and more, she becomes more desperate, more pretentious, more obstinate with her actions. We can see the progression of her dementia, her rejection of the reality. In the end, she ends up finding no one. Mitch rejects her. Stella drops her for Stanley. Stanley waves her good bye. Ultimately, I would conclude that this is a defeat for Blanche. She is trapped in an endless past, and her guilt does not subside. She is unable to adapt to the changing landscape around her. The reality which she faces is always warped into fantastical contrived fantasies, a form of retreat at the very least.

In the end, Stanley and Stella choose to stay with one another. Stella continues with this abusive relationship. Her motives are not clear. She might feel compelled to stay in this relationship because of the consequences that ensue otherwise. She might be psychologically attached to Stanley, because the violence instills a sense of hopelessness from leaving such a relationship, in the same manner that hostages begin to act in accordance with criminals after a certain period of time. She might prefer this risky type of person, who is simple and forceful because she desires an escape from the gracious-fulness and falsity of being noble and proper. Or there might be a sense of unwanted stigmatization for leaving such a relationship, given that women were seen to be only submissive to their husbands. Either way, Stella faces a loss of her sister. She doesn’t want her sister to be hurt, but she also loves Stanley. I would conclude that its a victory for Stanley and Stella on one hand with the success of their relationship, but given that she makes a remark about being unable to forgive Stanley for his actions, it can also be seen as a defeat.


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