Assess the significance of why Blanche would feel guilty regarding the story about Allan Grey's death.

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When Blanche recounts the story of Allan Grey's death, in scene six, she describes him as "a boy, just a boy" who came to her "for help." She says that he was, metaphorically, "in the quicksands and clutching at me" but that she was unable to help him. The implication...

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When Blanche recounts the story of Allan Grey's death, in scene six, she describes him as "a boy, just a boy" who came to her "for help." She says that he was, metaphorically, "in the quicksands and clutching at me" but that she was unable to help him. The implication here is that Allan felt ashamed of his homosexuality and wanted desperately to love Blanche so that he could convince himself that he was, or at least could be, heterosexual. Part of the guilt that Blanche feels for the death of Allan Gray is possibly related to her feeling that she was unable to help somebody that she loved and somebody who desperately wanted to be helped. He was a "helpless" boy who needed to be rescued, but she couldn't or wouldn't rescue him.

The significance of Blanche's guilt for her part in Allan Gray's death is also that it is perhaps the catalyst for her slow, inevitable psychological breakdown. Indeed, when she recalls the events surrounding his death, the stage directions indicate that she hears a "locomotive ... thunder(ing) past." This locomotive, and the thundering noise it makes, represents the debilitating anguish that Blanche feels every time she thinks of Allan Gray's death. Indeed, when she hears the noise, she "claps her hands to her ears and crouches over," as if the memories are too much for her to bear.

When Blanche recounts the story of Allan Grey's death, the implication is that he shot himself because she told him that he disgusted her. She was disgusted with his homosexuality, and this, presumably, brought his own shame to the surface. Throughout the play, Blanche fights with her own unconventional sexual history. She has slept with lots of men and has gained something of a reputation as a "loose" woman. Mitch later tells her that she is "not clean enough" to take home to his mother. Part of Blanche's guilt might, therefore, be linked to a feeling of hypocrisy. She understands all too well the injustice of being condemned for one's own sexual orientation or history. She is likely able to better empathize with Allan Gray later in her life than she was at the time of her initial "disgust." In hindsight, she likely realizes how unfair and how painful her "disgust" must have been to the man she loved. The moral here, of course, is that we all need to be more tolerant and more empathetic.

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I think that Blanche's feelings of guilt over her husband's death are highly significant to her characterization.  Blanche's feelings of guilt are revealed in this story.  Blanche feels guilty about her inability to be able to sustain a marriage.  At the same time, Blanche wonders what she did to drive Allan Grey into the arms of another man.  The issue of homosexuality is shown to be one that is misunderstood by society.  There is a touch of Blanche's self- indictment about her own feminine charms in Allan's homosexuality.  This might be part of the reason why she is so prone to demonstrating her sexuality in areas that are not socially acceptable, believing in a faint attempt that this will undo her own perceived failures in the realm of the personal.  The fact that the shame caused at her discovery of his homosexuality and the suicide that results only compounds her own feelings of guilt and resentment.  One sees that so much of Blanche is brought out in this story.  Her guilt from it becomes one of the main reasons why she wishes to flee into a world of nostalgia and a world in which she can plunge herself apart from the world of the present.  It was this particular story that brings to light the many levels of neurosis that exist with Blanche's psyche, something that makes her fundamentally ill- equipped to deal with the world of Stanleys.

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