A Streetcar Named Desire By Tennessee Williams Summary and Analysis Scene 4

Summary

The following morning, Blanche comes hesitantly and frightenedly to the Kowalski apartment and when she sees Stella alone, she rushes to her and embraces her. Stella tells Blanche to stop being so excitable. Blanche cannot understand how Stella could have returned to Stanley last night. Stella assures her that he was tame as a lamb. She tries to convince Blanche that she is quite content and happy in her present situation. Blanche ignores her and tries to think of some way of getting them out of the situation even though Stella repeatedly says she doesn't want out. Blanche remembers an old boy friend named Shep Huntleigh. She plans to contact him to see if he can help her out of her situation. She tells Stella that she has only sixty-five cents to her name, but she feels that after what happened last night she can't live under the same roof with Stanley: Stella tries to explain that Stanley was at his worst last night.

Through all of Blanche's attacks, Stella remains calm and simply asserts that she loves Stanley. Then Blanche asks if she may speak plainly. At this moment, Stanley enters the room unheard by Blanche and Stella, and he overhears Blanche's comments. Blanche says that Stanley is common and bestial. He has animal habits and is a "survivor of the Stone Age." She pleads with Stella to remember some of the advances of civilization and not to "hang back with the brutes." At this point, Stanley leaves quietly and calls from outside. When he comes in, Stella throws herself into his arms.

Analysis

This scene points up Blanche as the definite outsider. In attempting to get Stella to see Stanley as a common and bestial person, she succeeds only in alienating herself from Stella.

Blanche begins to feel her desperate situation. Here she first conceives of contacting her old acquaintance, Shep Huntleigh, who will develop as a symbol of her potential escape from this world.

Blanche's view of Stanley, that he is common and bestial — a survivor of the stone age bearing home the raw meat from the kill — does characterize the essential nature of Stanley. It should be remembered that the first scene showed Stanley bringing home a package of raw meat and tossing it to Stella. And Blanche's description also serves to illustrate how utterly different he is from the type of man Blanche has known.

This scene does not give us a direct confrontation between Blanche and Stanley, but instead and equally important, there is a confrontation between the two concepts of life represented by Stanley and Blanche. And at the end of the scene when Stella throws herself at Stanley, it is an obvious victory for Stanley.

Even though Stanley feels victorious in this encounter, we must remember that he has overheard himself referred to as common, bestial, and vulgar. Blanche has called him a savage and a brute. This has occurred in his own home. Therefore, his resentment of Blanche and desire to be rid of her is quite justifiable. Later when he rapes her, the rape will be partially motivated by his resentment of her attitude toward him.

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