Summary and Analysis
Several weeks later, Stella is seen packing some of Blanche's things. There is another poker party going on. This time, Stanley is winning. Eunice comes in to help with the packing. Stella wonders if she is doing the right thing by sending Blanche to the state institution. Stella tells Eunice that she couldn't continue to live with Stanley if she believed Blanche's story. Eunice assures Stella that she is doing the only sensible thing. Blanche comes from the bathroom, and she possesses a "hysterical vivacity." She wonders if she has received a call. Blanche speaks suddenly with a hysteria demanding to know what is going on. She feels trapped and wants to get out of the trap. Stella and Eunice help her get dressed. Blanche eats some unwashed grapes and thinks that she would like to die somewhere on the sea from eating unwashed grapes and be buried in a clean white sack.
The doctor and a matron from the state institution arrive to pick up Blanche. Eunice announces that "someone is calling for Blanche." Blanche is ready to go but doesn't want to pass through the room where the men are playing poker. When she sees the doctor, she panics and tries to run. Stanley blocks her way, and along with the matron, advances toward her. Stanley assures her that she left nothing here but the paper lantern which he tears off the light bulb and hands to Blanche. As Blanche screams and tries to break away, Stella runs out on the porch where Eunice tries to comfort her. Meanwhile, the matron pins Blanche down. The doctor advances and speaks quietly and softly to Blanche. She responds to his quietness and says that she has "always depended on the kindness of strangers." The doctor leads her out and Stanley comes to comfort Stella by fondling her breasts.
This scene balances with the poker game in Scene 3. But where Stanley was losing in the earlier game, he is now the winner, suggesting that he is once again the undisputed master in his own house.
Williams' position is probably best stated in Eunice's remark to Stella after Stella says that she couldn't go on living with Stanley if Blanche's story is true. Eunice tells her "Don't ever believe it. Life has got to go on. No matter what happens, you've got to keep on going." But apparently Blanche did not have the strength to go on living in spite of everything. She was too delicate to be able to withstand the pressures of living in a brutal, realistic world.
When Blanche refuses to go with the doctor and matron, she tells them that she has forgotten something. It is then that Stanley wonders what and takes off the "magic" Chinese lantern from the light, leaving the naked light bulb glaring at Blanche. This is the final blow for Blanche who tries to escape and is trapped by the matron. Again the light symbolism emphasizes Blanche's desire to live in a world of semi-illusion which contradicts Stanley's world.
The play ends with Stanley's comforting Stella in the only way he knows how — that is, by unbuttoning her blouse and fondling her breasts, again emphasizing him as the "gaudy seed-bearer."
The last line of the play puns on the man's world as Steve announces that the game is "seven-card stud," a particularly wild poker game.