Study Guide

A Streetcar Named Desire Scene Six

By Tennessee Williams

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Scene Six

  • This scene takes place at 2 a.m. later the same night. Blanche and Mitch have just returned to the house, having spent the night at an amusement park. It’s clear that they are both exhausted and that the situation is somewhat strained between them.
  • Mitch just brings things to a head by admitting he knows Blanche didn’t have a great time this evening.
  • Blanche apologizes and says she tried to be cheerful, and failed. She also reveals that she’s going to be leaving town soon.
  • Mitch opens the door for Blanche and then asks if he can kiss her good-night. He says he always asks first because he’s never sure if she wants him to.
  • Blanche explains that when she stopped him earlier it wasn’t the kissing she objected to, but the “other familiarity” (likely a wandering hand).
  • Mitch says that he likes Blanche the way she is, and that he’s never met another woman like her. She invites him in for a nightcap, but asks that they leave the lights off (because she doesn’t want to be seen in direct light).
  • Inside, Blanche lights a candle and says they’re going to pretend that they’re in a café in Paris.
  • They settle in for their drink. Mitch doesn’t want to take his coat off because, as he says, he’s sweating and his shirt is sticking to him.
  • This brings the discussion around to Mitch’s physique, which he deems a heavy build. After some encouragement from Blanche regarding his appearance, Mitch brags a bit about how much he weighs and how often he works out.
  • Then he asks Blanche how much she weighs.
  • Blanche tells him to guess. He lifts her up, declaring her “light as a feather.”
  • While his hands are on her waist for lifting purposes, Mitch takes advantage of the situation to give Blanche the old tilt-and-kiss. “Just give me a slap when I step out of bounds,” he says.
  • Blanche tells him that she’s sure that slapping him won’t be necessary, as he’s a gentleman and will stop on his own.
  • Mitch lets her go. Turning away from him, Blanche declares that she has “old-fashioned ideals” and then rolls her eyes, knowing he can’t see her.
  • Changing the subject, Mitch asks where Stanley and Stella are. Blanche explains that they’re out on the town for the night.
  • Then, Blanche asks if Stanley has told Mitch anything about her. She wants to know what Stanley’s attitude is towards her, since he’s been so rude. She takes issue with his manners and the way he walks around the house half-dressed, knowing how uncomfortable it makes her.
  • Blanche explains that she can’t move out because a teacher’s salary is just enough to live on, and during the summer she has no income.
  • Mitch interrupts her ranting to ask how old she is.
  • Blanche asks why he wants to know, and Mitch explains that his mother asked how old this interest of his was. He says his mother is sick and is only going to live a few more months, and she’d like to see him settled with someone.
  • Blanche ventures that Mitch will be lonely after his mother dies, and offers her sympathies. She knows what it’s like to feel lonely…. (She also knows how to avoid 1) a weight inquiry and 2) an age question.)
  • And now it’s time for Blanche to fill us in on why she’s lonely. She tells Mitch the story of her now-dead husband. She met him when she was only sixteen and fell head-over-heels in love for the first time. She knew there was “something different” about him, but married him anyway.
  • The “something different” about her husband turned out to be that he was gay. She caught him cheating on her with another man one night.
  • Afterwards, the three of them (Blanche, her husband, and his lover) pretended nothing happened, drank heavily, and headed out to party for the night. While they danced the Varsouviana polka (the music we’ve been hearing every once in a while, and which now rises again), Blanche suddenly flipped and called her husband “disgusting.”
  • Her husband ran off of the dance floor and, a few moments later, shot himself. Since then, says Blanche, she hasn’t been able to bear a light any stronger than a candle.
  • Mitch moves closer to her. He needs someone, he says, and so does she, so it makes perfect sense for the two of them be together.
  • Blanche seems to agree, as she embraces him back and they kiss. The polka music fades away, and she says, “Sometimes—there’s God—so quickly!”

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