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A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire


by Tennessee Williams

Blanche DuBois Timeline and Summary

  • Blanche arrives at Elysian Fields, dismayed at what she finds there. Eunice lets her into to the Kowalski apartment, where she asks to be left alone.
  • Blanche sneaks some booze.
  • Stella arrives and the sisters greet each other warmly. Then Blanche makes up a story about taking a leave of absence from teaching.
  • She notices that her sister has gained a bit of weight and remarks that she herself is as thin as ever.
  • Blanche reveals that Belle Reve is lost and accuses her sister of leaving her to deal with the mess.
  • Stella goes to wash her face and Stanley enters. Sexual tension follows as they interact.
  • Blanche reveals that she used to be married but that her husband is now dead.
  • While Blanche bathes, Stanley goes through her trunk and tells Stella they’ve been swindled.
  • When he accuses Blanche of selling the family plantation instead of losing it, she gives him the papers that prove bankruptcy.
  • Blanche hears from Stanley about Stella’s pregnancy and congratulates her sister on the baby.
  • Blanche and Stella return from dinner to the find the men still drunk and playing poker at 2:30am.
  • The girls go in the back room, where Blanche bumps into Mitch, evoking “interest” on both sides.
  • The women discuss Mitch and Stanley. While Stella is in the bathroom, Mitch returns to flirt with Blanche.
  • Blanche turns on the radio, which provokes Stanley to a rage. When he hits Stella, Blanche screams and brings her upstairs to Eunice’s.
  • Later, Blanche is horrified when Stella returns to the now apologetic Stanley. Blanche goes downstairs to see what’s happening, and sits on the steps outside the apartment with Mitch, who tells her that this sort of things happens all the time and not to worry.
  • The next morning, having not slept at all, Blanche finds Stella once Stanley has left for the morning. She’s insistent that they get out of this mess, and horrified to hear that her sister is quite content with things as they are.
  • Blanche rants against Stanley as being “primitive” and “common,” unaware that he’s arrived outside and is listening to her speak.
  • She watches helplessly as Stella runs to and embraces her husband.
  • Shortly after, Blanche reads to Stella her letter to Shep Huntleigh. She listens to Eunice and Steve fighting.
  • Stanley shows up and tells Blanche his buddy Shaw heard about her in Laurel. Blanche tries to deny it.
  • Once Stanley is gone, Blanche asks Stella if she’s heard any similar gossip. Stella says no.
  • Blanche asks for a coke with a shot in it, freaking out when the glass foams over.
  • She tells her sister about what's going on between her and Mitch – she's not sleeping with him in hopes that he’ll marry her.
  • Stella leaves Blanche alone, and the Young Man looking for newspaper donations shows up. Blanche flirts with him and finally asks him outright for a kiss, which he allows her before skedaddling.
  • Mitch shows up and Blanche plays the part of the perfect Southern belle.
  • Next, we see Blanche with Mitch after a night at the amusement park. Things aren’t going so well.
  • They discuss the progress (or lack thereof, in Mitch’s opinion) in their physical relationship, and Blanche brings the topic of conversation around to Stanley and his attitude towards her.
  • They both conclude that they’re lonely and need someone, namely each other.
  • While Blanche is in the bathroom, Stanley reveals to Stella the real story behind Blanche’s departure from Laurel.
  • Blanche comes out of the bathroom; she can tell something is wrong, but Stella won’t say anything.
  • Blanche sits around with Stella and Stanley, waiting for Mitch to join her birthday celebration.
  • When Stanley gives her a bus ticket as a birthday present, Blanche panics.
  • While the Kowalskis are at the hospital, Blanche drinks alone at the apartment. Mitch comes by and wants to know the truth about her. She admits to her doings in Laurel and her need for magic over realism.
  • Later that night, Stanley comes home from the hospital. Blanche is all dolled up and makes up a story about going on a cruise in the Caribbean with a gentleman named Shep Huntleigh. She also pretends that Mitch came back to beg her forgiveness.
  • Stanley calls her out on these lies. They get in an argument which turns physical, and Stanley rapes her.
  • Blanche has completely lost her grip on reality. Stella is sending to a mental institution, but feeds Blanche’s fantasy that she’s going off with Shep Huntleigh.
  • Blanche is afraid to walk by the men playing poker.
  • She flips out when the Matron (from the mental institution) tries to restrain her, but the Doctor calms her down by offering her his arm and playing the part of the Southern gentleman.
  • Before exiting, Blanche delivers her famous last line to the Doctor: “Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”
  • She exits the stage around the corner as Stella calls after her.