During which month does the play begin, and why is this setting an important aspect of the play?

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Whenever students read plays, they must never neglect the stage directions that are unnecessary in viewing, but so important in the reading of a drama.  Thus, on the first page, Tennessee Williams indicates clearly that it is twilight in the evening of early May.  That it is Spring is in contrast to Blanche, whose name means "white," and who is in her final season of eligibility for marriage.  Like Blanche who creates the illusion of youth, it is really twilight for her.

The blind Mexican woman who sells flowers for the dead is, of course, symbolic of Blanche's forthcoming demise.  She will soon see the end of all her illusions and dreams as Stella agrees to have her taken to a mental hospital.  Also, in this scene Mitch appears drunk and tries to force Blanche into a sexual act with him, but she resists and threatens to call the police.  Nevertheless, the woman's blindness foreshadows Blanche's blindness that Stanley can overpower her as he does in Scene 10.  She also is somewhat excited by the potential violence, although it goes too far for her.  Again, the woman's flowers for the dead are symbolic.

Read the study guide:
A Streetcar Named Desire

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question