Blanche represents the typical southern gentlewomen. When she was wearing her ball gown at the outset of the scene ten-a whimsicality which instantly precedes the most prosaic and cruelly verbal of degeneration (Rape)-she was ageing southern beauty attempting to recall a time now past. She was a representative of her culture and social background, a symbol of a lost generation.
The rules and regulations in the plantation indicated the decisive role of men in the routine life and production. The women in the plantation had to make a living by relying on males and the asceticism which is a doctrine of puritan still exists in their minds. In brief, the gentlewomen were content with their current status in a society which is characterized by men.
Under the historical background, the life of Blanche had changed a great deal. When she was a little girl, she had considered the southern gentlemen as a shelter and regarded her former husband Allen as an ideal figure. Nevertheless, as a puritan, she could not accept that her beloved husband was homosexual.
It is a nightmare that she could not to get rid of. After her husband had committed suicide, Blanche finally lost her spiritual reliance. She did not look to be independent and was looking forward to a brand-new life by relying on men. The feeling of loneliness made her hunting for men’s protection, even in a 17-year-old young man. It is obvious that she could not obtain the sincere love and pleasure by having intimate relationships with strange men.
Blanche had hoped that Mitch could be an anchor for her life. If Blanche’s relation with Mitch got failed, she might confront a situation that provides few prospects for a financially bankrupt, widowed woman who was near the middle age. Although she admitted that she had played an important role in her husband’s suicide to her beloved, she still hides her real age and the whole past which gave rise to potential problems in her later life.
After the poker’s night, her sister Stella’s passiveness was countered by the distortion and conversion of Blanche’s pursuing for resolutions to what she considered as Stella’s dilemma.
Blanche is determined to get in touch with a former boyfriend named Shep Huntleigh, who was a Texas oilman, while the irrationality of her opinion was clarified when she attempted to form a Western unification message by using an eyebrow pencil on a facial tissue. Though Blanche reckoned that her sister’s husband was a cruel marauder, she was impulsive to turn to another man as a rescuer. There was a delicate irony in her reflexive reversion to the Southern beauty’s customs of thinking- –psychological reliance on paternalism of protection by men for the unaided women. Just the time after she had said, “I am going to do something. Get hold of myself and make myself a new!” (A Streetcar Named Desire, p.1844) The desperate property of her status is evident in her mental intentions to make herself believe that the chivalrous males still exist in the world. Shep Huntleigh was once a wooer of Blanche. In Blanche’s mind, Shep was an ideal figure of a chivalrous man who was rich and noble that was proper for her to rely on. Although Shep was married at that time, she had wished he could offer her economic support which could help Stella and her escape form Stanley. After a while, as Blanche’s mental state worsened, she got an illusion that Shep was was on the verge of take her away became all too real for her, despite the fact that he never appeared.
In the last scene Blanche regarded the doctor as the savior she had been waiting for a long time. Despite the fact that he is not the type of person as Shep, Blanche thought he was. Blanche’s reliance on the kindness of strangers but not on herself can be made clear that she has not managed well in her life. Blanche found a way to save her honor despite everything and become the type of women she had been making a great effort to be.
Blanche regarded the doctor to be a gentleman who knows all about how to respect a woman. We can note that it is an easy procedure to regard him as the rescuer upon whom Blanche had been conditioned to depend on.
The figure of Blanche shares some similarities with Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind: They were both southern beauties who have grown up on the plantation;
Both of them had experienced the imminent war and lost their families and possessions. However, Scarlett could adapt to the Southern society when the war came to an end and then she strived to get back to Tara. On the contrary, Blanche was lacking in the skills to survive and soaked her in the illusion of the old Southern brilliance. Social tradition of the old South had depraved Blanche thoroughly and she was vulnerable to the rule or invasion by men.
As a matter of fact, strangers were only keen on having sexual relation with her and Blanche paid heavily for it: residents in Laurel expelled her out of her hometown; Stanley and Mitch did not show any sympathy to her. “The one that says the lady must entertain the gentleman” (A Streetcar Named Desire, p.1853), it indicates the Blanche’s tragic destiny that she was not difficult to be abandoned by men.