How does Blanche feel about loosing Belle Reve in A Streetcar Named Desire? 

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Blanche loses her mind after losing the family home.

It is clear that whatever mental stability Blanche had cracked when she lost the family homestead, Belle Reve.  It is the last in a long line of personal failures that are too much for Blanche. 

Blanche has two coping mechanisms: denial and blame.  Everything is everyone else’s fault, assuming she acknowledges that it happened at all.  The family home was mortgaged, so it was okay that she lost it.  It was the fault of all of the ancestors before her.

There are thousands of papers, stretching back over hundreds of years, affecting Belle Reve as, piece by piece, our improvident grandfathers and father and uncles and brothers exchanged the land for their epic fornications--to put it plainly! (Scene 2)

Blanche seems to scarcely acknowledge what happened.  When Stanley asks her if the house was mortgaged, she just responds that this “must've been what happened.”  Blanche exists in a fantasy world where everything is fine until she is confronted with the truth, and then she retreats into herself, not really accepting it.

The loss of the family’s reputation and Blanche’s are intertwined.  She blames Stella for demeaning herself by marrying Stanley, but her own past is hardly praiseworthy.  After finding out that her husband was gay when she was sixteen, and the suicide of that same husband, she lost herself in a sea of sexual promiscuity.   When confronted with this by Stanley and Stella, Blanche blames the loss of Belle Reve.

I wasn't so good the last two years or so, after Belle Reve had started to slip through my fingers. (Scene 5)

As far as Blanche is concerned, losing her husband and losing Belle Reve left her on her own.  Not being “self-sufficient,” she turned to others, apparently a string of others, getting her a reputation.  Having an affair with a student resulted in her getting fired.

By the time Blanche shows up at Stella’s house, she has acknowledged on some level that the game is up, although she hides her pain in judgement of others.  She is unable to cope with what has happened.  When Stanley rapes her, the shell that remained of Blanche cracks.  She descends into madness once and for all.

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A Streetcar Named Desire

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