Blanche sits drinking in front of an oscillating fan while Mitch approaches the flat, looking disheveled. Mitch rings the bell and Blanche hides the bottle that she has been drinking from before excitedly letting him in. She tries to kiss him, but Mitch treats her coldly. She offers to find him something to drink, but Mitch says that he does not want any of Stanley’s liquor. Blanche continues to pretend that nothing is wrong between the two of them, although she realizes at this point that Mitch’s disposition is unwelcoming.
Mitch begins to tell her that he is no longer interested in seeing her, but she is too busy pretending to find the liquor bottle that she had just hidden to listen to him. She again offers him some liquor, but he refuses more steadfastly and accuses her of drinking all of Stanley’s liquor. He then asks to see her in the light, noting that for the past several months, she has avoided going out with him during the day or to any well-lit venues. While she tries to make excuses, he turns on the lamp and shines it directly at her, despite her protests. After looking at her, he tells her that he does not mind her being older than she let on, but he is angry that she lied to him about her ideals and upstanding morals. When she denies that she lied to him, he tells her that he has spoken to a number of people from Laurel that tell the same story about Blanche’s loose character, and she confesses to having had a number of sexual exploits, including an affair with one of her students. She claims that after her husband killed himself, she was confused and tried to find affection while “hunting for some protection.”
As Blanche finishes confessing, a blind Mexican woman selling flowers for the dead wanders through the street. As the woman continues to call out “Flores para los muertos,” Blanche enters a cryptic reverie, thinking about the times before she lost Belle Reve, reliving pieces of past conversations, and admitting to meeting with the soldiers who would pass through Laurel. Mitch puts his hand around Blanche’s waist and says that he wants what he has been waiting for, but Blanche insists on marriage first. He tells her that she is unfit for marriage but continues to hold her expectantly. To fend him off, Blanche begins screaming “fire” to attract outside attention to the flat, and Mitch runs out the door as Blanche collapses to her knees.
Scene 10 opbeginsens a few hours after scene 9. Blanche has been steadily drinking and packing. Her suitcase is thrown open and clothing is haphazardly thrown into it. She has also dressed herself up in a wrinkled satin gown, silver slippers, and a tiara. She speaks aloud to no one about going for a swim in the quarry, evidently reliving a moment from her teenage years. She looks at herself in a hand mirror before slamming the mirror down and shattering the glass.
Stanley comes back from the hospital and walks into the flat. Blanche asks how Stella is doing, and Stanley says that the baby will not be born before morning. He asks why Blanche is dressed up, and she claims that she received a telegram from Shep to cruise the Caribbean with him in his yacht. Stanley begins removing his shirt as he congratulates her on this turn of events. Blanche asks him to close the curtains, but he instead takes out a bottle of beer and opens it in celebration. He also goes to his bureau and finds a pair of silk pajamas and tells Blanche that he is going to wave them around like a flag when he gets the news that his son has been born.
Blanche continues to talk about Shep and how she has much to give him in terms of “beauty of the mind and richness of the spirit and tenderness of the heart.” She then insults Stanley, telling him that she has been wasting all of these qualities on swine such as Stanley and Mitch. She explains that she broke things off with Mitch, and even though he came back with roses trying to apologize, she could not forgive him for...
(The entire section is 1,445 words.)