Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Blanche DuBois (dew-BWAH), a desperate, neurotic woman who goes to New Orleans to stay with her younger sister Stella after losing her home and job in Mississippi. Blanche is haunted by guilt over the death of her young husband, who committed suicide after she confronted him about his homosexuality. She then became a nymphomaniac, scandalizing her hometown and losing her high school teaching job because of her relationship with a teenage boy. With no money, no home, and fading youth, Blanche clings to romantic illusions to sustain her self-image, even as she depends on Stella for shelter and emotional support. She still sees herself as the beautiful, refined mistress of Belle Reve, the former DuBois family plantation. Unable to accept the changes in her life, she turns to alcohol and romantic fantasy for escape. She hopes to solve her problems by marrying her brother-in-law Stanley’s friend Mitch, but he rejects her after discovering the truth about her past. First told to leave and then raped by Stanley, Blanche suffers an emotional collapse, retreating completely into the beautiful but delusional world to which she had tried so desperately to cling in reality.
Stanley Kowalski, Blanche’s brother-in-law. Stanley is earthy, unrefined, sensual, and sometimes violent, in every way the opposite of the image of Southern gentility Blanche tries to project. Stanley loves Stella, though he is possessive, dominant, and occasionally abusive toward her. He views Blanche’s presence as a threat to his position of power and control in his home. He distrusts her immediately because she cannot adequately explain the loss of Belle...
(The entire section is 708 words.)
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