During Scene 9, Mitch confronts Blanche with her deceptions, and she finally tells him the truth about herself. As a backdrop to the scene, a blind Mexican woman selling "gaudy tin flowers that lower-class Mexicans display at funerals" continually sings out in Spanish, "Flowers, flowers, flowers for the dead." Before the woman appears, Blanche has already been reliving Allan's death in her mind, unable to get the polka tune out of her head that was playing when he shot himself. She explains to Mitch why she turned to promiscuity: "After the death of Allan—intimacies with strangers was all I seemed able to fill my empty heart with."
Then the street vendor comes to the door, and Blanche turns her away, slamming the door in fear after her. The "flowers for the dead" interruption seems eerily timely given Blanche's recent words; it also stirs in her the memories of her elderly relations she had to watch over as they died—trying to deny the reality of death the whole time. Blanche continues, "Death ... the opposite is desire. So do you wonder? How could you possibly wonder!" This reveals a side of Blanche Mitch and viewers haven't seen before, giving her backstory depth and sympathy. To escape the horror of "blood-stained pillow-slips" and "the long parade to the graveyard," Blanche turned to sexual liaisons with soldiers from the nearby training camp. After her intimacies with them, "the paddy-wagon would gather them up like daisies." After the word daisies, and throughout this section, the Mexican woman repeats her cry, "Flowers for the dead."
The Mexican woman's appearance creates the objective correlative of death that punctuates the scene. Without a tangible representation of the presence of death that drove Blanche to drown her pain in promiscuity, this scene would be much less powerful. The woman and her chant help viewers experience more deeply the emotions that Blanche describes and displays during this scene.