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MonkeyNotes-A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
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Scene 7

Summary

It is late afternoon in mid September. Stanley enters and inquires where Blanche is and what is the occasion for the cake and flowers. Stella answers that it is Blanche's birthday and she is bathing and getting dressed. He asks Stella to sit down and hear him out for he has, at last, discovered the truth about his sister-in-law. He explains how he has felt when Blanche has called him common and how he has been repeatedly reminded of the difference in his background and that of Stella. Now he has verified, from the most reliable sources, that Blanche is known as a disreputable person in Laurel. Even the low-class Flamingo Hotel asked her to leave. Stella initially dismisses this as a pack of lies, Stanley's attempt to get even with Blanche. He then tells Stella that Blanche has lost her job as a schoolteacher for trying to seduce a seventeen year-old boy, and the army base near Laurel has labeled her "out-of-bounds" to the soldiers. Ironically, while Stanley is really the truth about Blanch, she is in the shower singing, "If you believed in me," singing this ignorant of Stanley's expose. It seems almost as if she was making a plea for herself, but she has no idea what Stanley is currently up to.

Stella tries to defend Blanche, and says that her sister's behavior is due to her tragic marriage. Blanche truly adored her husband and has never gotten over his suicide. Stanley says he is not interested in Blanche's history (ironic words since he has just dug up her past). Stanley also tells Stella not to expect Mitch at the birthday celebration, for he has been told the entire story, the real truth about Blanche. Stanley feels likes a messiah who has saved Mitch from marrying a tramp. He justifies his actions by saying that he did not want Mitch, his best friend, "to get caught" in a bad marriage.

Stanley makes it clear that Blanche cannot stay longer with them. He has ensured her departure by buying her a bus ticket. When told that she would never travel by bus (again an indication of Blanche`s grand life style), Stanley says that Blanche has no choice - she has to adjust to circumstances.

Blanche emerges from the bathroom feeling refreshed and rested, but Stanley`s presence makes her nervous. Seeing Stella`s lack of enthusiasm, she guesses something is wrong. When Stella tries to discuss what she has learned from Stanley, Blanche calls Stella a liar.


Notes

Stanley, the hunter begins to close in one his prey, Blanche. He has found out all the ugly details about her recent past and relates these to Stella. He is determined to get back at Blanche for the demeaning things she has said about him. He also wants to get rid of her, for he feels she is a threat to his marriage. To make sure that she leaves, Stanley has bought her a one-way bus ticket out of town.

The scene is filled with ironies. While Stanley is revealing the past that Blanche has been so desperate to conceal, she is in the bathroom, symbolically trying to wash away her sins and singing of a make-believe world. It is also ironic that this sad turn of events occurs on Blanche's birthday. Stella has planned a small party for her, and Mitch is expected to come and join in the celebration. Stanley has spoiled that plan -- and Blanche's prospects of marrying Mitch. He has cruelly told his friend everything about Blanche's past. The fact that Blanche should feel rested precisely at the moment when preparations for her departure have been made is also ironic. Blanche's period of rest at her sister's house is over.

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