Questions to answer on Scene 2

 


 

Why is Stella reluctant to tell Blanche about being pregnant?

What do we learn about Stella and Blanche’s relationship in this scene?

How important are the stage directions in this scene?

How does Williams generate mystery around the character of Blanche in this scene?

What do we learn about Stella and Stanley’s relationship in the scene?

How does Williams use nouns, verbs and adjectives in the scene to create a sense of the characters, generate interest and colour?

What topics of conversation are coming up again and again? Why is this?

What do you think will happen next?

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19 thoughts on “Questions to answer on Scene 2

  1. Isobel

    Isobel
    Group: Isobel, Annie, Phoebe & Alex

    How important are the stage directions in this scene?
    The stage directions are particularly important in this scene to understand the different characters personalities better. In the first scene, Stanley seems to make the sexual advance (taking off his shirt) whilst Blanche allowed him too, however in the scene the roles have reversed. Blanche is making the sexual advance towards Stanley and he is allowing it to happen, despite being married. Blanche ‘throws off her robe’ the verb, ‘throws’ shows how she takes off her robe covering herself very quickly without allowing Stanley time to attempt to stop her revealing herself in front of him. Throughout the scene she is extremely flirty through the stage directions ‘she smiles at him radiantly’, ‘She sprays herself with her atomizer; then playfully sprays him with it’ all of this is inappropriate behaviour for a woman with her brother-in-law and it has stepped the line. This is important as we learn how flirty Blanche is and how the sexual tension between the two is mutual rather than one sided as suggested in the first scene.

    How does Williams generate mystery around the character of Blanche in this scene?
    Williams creates mystery around the character of Blanche as we discover more about her personality which leads us to be further in the dark of understanding her, particularly with Stella. At the start of the scene Blanche is constantly flirting with Stanley, Stella’s husband, such as taking off her robe in front of him and asking him to button up her dress. Which makes us question her as someone who wants to portray herself of an upper class as shown through her clothing and nature, when Blanche first arrived to New Orleans she was judging the area for being poorer than what she is used to, however she is happy to flirt with someone she barely knows from that type of area, which she looks down on and the people who live there. Contrastingly, Blanche is very pleasant to her sister moments later, unusually however she tells Stella very openly that she had just been flirting with Stanley, which suggests that she is attention seeking.

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  2. Becky Christmas

    What do we learn about Stella and Stanley’s relationship in the scene?
    In the second scene of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ we find out more details between Stella and Stanley. Previously, Stanley has been portrayed as a flirtatious man that thinks of crude images in his mind. This made us question if their marriage is real. This means there are already questions the audience wants to know about the characters of Stella and Stanley and their relationship. However, in this scene, Stanley could be seen as protective of his wife and acting as a gentleman. This is shown by being defensive of his naive wife “Open your eyes to this stuff! You think she got them out of a teacher’s pay?” On the other hand, Stanley could be seen being quite patronising to his wife by the sarcasm he uses, causing tension between the two characters “What is this sister of yours, a deep-sea diver who brings up sunken treasures?”

    Why is Stella reluctant to tell Blanche about being pregnant?
    As a group we thought that Stella was reluctant to tell Blanche about being pregnant because she didn’t want to come across as a boasting sister. Previously in the story we find out that Blanche’s husband died very young, causing them not to have any children. If Blanche wanted any children she would not be able to have them now which means that Stella is being sensitive to this topic and does not discuss this with her. However, their relationship is very secretive between them and we realise that they are not the type of siblings who are very close. This is reinforced by the fact Blanche has never met Stanley before.

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  3. Annie Brett

    Group: Annie, Isobel, Alex, Phoebe

    What do we learn about Stella and Stanley’s relationship in this scene?
    In this scene we learn firstly that Stella is pregnant which suggests that Stanley and Stella are closer and have more secrets than we first thought. Then we see the tension between the couple begin to build as Stella gets upset over the fact that Stanley is accusing Blanche of not telling the truth about the loss of the house. They quarrel over this and Stanley is adamant that there is a deeper meaning to the loss of the girls family home and demands to see some papers. This demonstrates that Stanley is not very sensitive to Stella’s feelings and Stella is easily affected by Stanley’s opinion and is now starting to see the differences between her values and Stanley’s.

    How does Williams use nouns, verbs and adjectives to create a sense of the characters, generate interest and colour?
    Williams uses adjectives in order to create a in depth description of the characters and their actions. For example one particular stage direction suggested that Blanch gave Stanley a ‘smouldering’ look, this suggests a flirtatious nature about Blanche, despite Stanley being her sisters husband. These types of character description allow the reader to learn more about the character and generates interest in to their lives.

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  4. Danielle Preedy

    Why is Stella reluctant to tell Blanche about being pregnant?
    Stella is reluctant to tell Blanche about being pregnant because she knows that Blanche is already upset and unstable at the moment about the loss of Bell Reve and doesn’t want to upset her more. Also, we learn that Blanche lost her husband at a young age and may never have had the chance to have her own children, so Stella doesn’t want to come across as if she is boasting that she is now pregnant herself.
    What do we learn about Stella and Blanche’s relationship in this scene?
    We learn that Stella and Blanche don’t have a very close relationship, as we see that they don’t tell each other things (we see that Stella tells Stanley not to let Blanche know about the pregnancy) and they clearly don’t know a lot about each other. We learn that they do care about each other as Stella wants Stanley to leave talk of the money issues with Blanche alone until she is feeling better; she is concerned about her sister being vulnerable. We also see that Blanche babies Stella and tries to pretend to her that everything is okay. She also tells her what to do, such as making her go and get her a drink from the drug store.
    How important are the stage directions in this scene?
    Stage directions are very important in this scene as they show Stanley’s attitude about things such as money, and shows his aggression towards other people. We see this, for example, through the way that he ‘jerks open a small drawer’, ‘kicks the trunk partly closed’, ‘rips off the ribbons’ and ‘snatches’ up the papers. The descriptions clearly show us that he is harsh and aggressive and doesn’t seem to be particularly tactful, he gets straight to the point and is quite abrupt. The nature of his actions is quite violent which may hint at another side to his personality that he, and Stella, may want to keep hidden. The stage directions are also important as they hit at the flirtation between Blanche and Stanley, for example saying ‘he crosses through the drapes with a smouldering look’. The use of the word ‘smouldering’ suggests that he looks at her with desire and possibly with sexual intentions, which becomes very interesting as we know that he is married to Blanche’s sister. We also see the flirtation from Blanche’s side when it says ‘She smiles at him radiantly’ and she ‘sprays herself with her atomizer; then playfully sprays him with it’. We see that this is inappropriate behaviour for someone whose sister is married to this man, and also shows that the sexual intentions are not just one sided.
    How does Williams generate mystery around the character of Blanche in this scene?
    Williams generates mystery around the character of Blanche in this scene as firstly the way she acts around Stanley is very confusing. Firstly, she behaves very flirtatiously around him and acts as if she is possibly even sexually interested in him, but then changes and acts as if she dislikes him, for example when it says she ‘speaks fiercely’ to him, suggesting that she is angry. Also, she says ‘now you’ve touched them I’ll burn them’ which suggests a strong dislike for him and that she feels he’s ruined her letters. Also, it creates mystery about why Bell-Reve was ‘lost’, and if it was really lost at all or if she had to tell it for some reason that she doesn’t want to admit. It also creates a mystery over the papers relating to the house, as she says ‘such as what?’ when asked about the papers and Stanley accuses her of playing dumb. It creates mystery around why she may be lying about what has happened in her previous life and also how she may have acquired all of the seemingly expensive clothing and jewellery that she has.

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  5. Tom Morgan

    First 4 Questions
    1) I believe that Stella is reluctant to tell her because she believes it will make Blanche jealous due to her past. It would be hard to tell her she is pregnant because due to Blanche’s husband unfortunately dying, she was unable to have a child with the man she loved. Also, Stella wants Blanche to feel welcome into their home, and if she told her this, she would feel awkward and wouldn’t want to intrude on the couple. I also believe that Blanche may have lost a child she was bearing when with her recently diseased husband, therefore making it even harder to tell her!
    2) As Blanche is the older sibling, she takes the dominant role in the relationship between her and her sister. Blanche is seen as very lazy in scene two as the simple task of getting her own drink is too much for her so she gets Stella to do this. Stella is a caring person so does this without complaint but Stanley seems aggravated so confronts her. This was before Blanche knew Stella was pregnant so i believe that she wouldn’t of treated her this way if she knew earlier on.
    3) Throughout scene two, the stage directions indicate that Blanche seems aggravated and worried during and after her ‘heated discussion’ with Stanley, but as soon as he tells her the news on Stella being pregnant, the mood lightens. As well as this, during the majority of the scene, the stage directions also show that Blanche is patronizing, trying to be the mother figure to her younger sister, Stella.
    4) The majority of scene two involves two characters; Blanche and Stanley. During this time, Williams creates tension by them having an argument. Linking to this, Blanche’s box seems to represent her life over the years but may also symbolize many secrets she is trying to hide. For example; when Stanley goes to look at previous ‘love letters’ from a random diseased man, she quickly turns defensive and automatically tries to change the subject. this, for me, generates mystery in scene two.

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  6. Ross

    What do we learn about Stella and Stanley’s relationship in the scene?
    During the scene we learn that Stella and Stanley have contrasting personalities. Stanley does not trust people and wants to instantly interrogate Blanche, such as when he asks ‘where’s the papers?’ Stanley does not want to get to know Blanche and gives her no time to explain herself. Stella, on the other hand, is more understanding and caring. She tells Stanley he has ‘no idea how stupid and horrible you’re being!’ This shows she feels she has a duty of care to make her sister feel welcome and to stop Stanley from intimidating her.
    Another thing we learn is that Stanley is in control of the relationship. This is evident when he responds to Stella ‘since when did you give me orders?’ This demonstrates that Stanley does not like to be told what to do and wants to be the dominant force in the relationship. It also highlights that Stella may not want to accept this, but to keep their relationship going, she has to.
    How does Williams use nouns, verbs and adjectives in the scene to create a sense of the characters, generate interest and colour?
    After entering Blanche’s room Stanley ‘hurls the furs to the daybed.’ The verb ‘hurls’ demonstrates that he can be a violent person and is determined to get an idea of Blanche’s past. It makes the reader want to see if there will be any more incidents that involve Stanley being a violent person. It gives an added dimension to Stanley’s character as it shows how easily he can change from being a nice person to being a dangerous person. Another example of this is when he ‘slams’ the atomizer on the dresser.
    After Stanley takes her love letters, Blanche ‘speaks fiercely.’ The adjective of fiercely shows that Blanche will not be intimidated by anyone and has a strong will. Blanche is not scared of Stanley and is determined not to give in to his threatening nature. It also shows that she does not want Stanley to know about her past and this makes the reader want to know what she is trying to hide. It also links to her hiding the fact that she drinks alcohol. It may also mean that Blanche is used to being in control and could possibly be trying to take control of Stanley.
    What topics of conversation are coming up again and again? Why is this?
    A topic of conversation which came up again is what has happened to Belle Reve. Stella quizzes Blanche about this in the first scene but then also discusses it with Stanley. It is obvious that the place holds some sentimental value to her and it makes the reader wonder why she left it in the first place. As she says ‘we’ve – lost Belle Reve!’ it proves that she is distraught at its loss and is determined to know what has happened to it.
    What do you think will happen next?
    I think that Blanche will try to integrate herself further into the community, but will drive a wedge between Stella and Stanley. Stanley will continue to try to find details about Blanche’s past while Stella will continue to make her sister feel welcome.

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  7. Chloe

    1. Why is Stella reluctant to tell Blanche about being pregnant?
    Stella may be worried about reminding Blanche what life could have been like if she didn’t lose her husband, as if he didn’t die then maybe they would have been able to have kids. Also, Stella may be afraid of making Blanche jealous, and she has only just arrived and not properly settled in yet, so Stella wouldn’t want Blanche to feel uncomfortable and left-out.
    2. What do we learn about Stella and Blanche’s relationship in this scene?
    Stella seems to worry about Blanche a lot, and also she makes sure that Stanley respects her too, ‘’be sure to say something nice about her appearance’’. This is odd, as all of a sudden she is trying to protect Blanche when previous to this they have had an argument which didn’t seem to make much sense in the first place. We also learn that Blanche seems to act as the ‘motherly’ figure, as she sends Stella to the drug store to get her a drink. However, Stella seems to think it’s the opposite and tends to try and protect Blanche acting the ‘motherly’ figure herself. This shows that deep down they both want to protect each other but without the other knowing, as they don’t really show it physically but they do emotionally.
    3. How important are the stage directions in this scene?
    Stage directions are very important in this scene, as they give an added depth to the characters which you wouldn’t find out just from dialogue. Also, it can give you the subtleties to certain characters emotions, for example; in this scene we see Stanley may have some aggression issues as the stage directions say he does the following things – ‘’jerks’’, ‘’kicks’’, ‘’rips’’ and ‘’snatches’’. These are all verbs which suggest violence, therefore they suggest there might be more to Stanley’s attitudes we don’t know yet, but these stage directions give us clues he could have some anger issues.
    Also, the stage directions hint at the flirtation between Blanche and Stanley. For instance, when Blanche sprays the perfume it says she sprays it ‘’playfully’’, which means that she is aiming it at Stanley. This is important information, as Blanche knows Stanley is married to Stella however she still flirts with him.

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  8. Abbie

    What do we learn about Stella and Stanley’s relationship in the scene?
    In scene 2 we learn that Stanley resumes the authority role within the relationship. Although Stella tries to convince Stanley to accept her decisions, he is constantly shown to be overriding her input. This becomes obvious when Stanley is questioning Stella about her seeing and documentation proving that Belle Reve had been sold or lost. Although Stella is reassuring Stanley that she has not been swindled by her own sister, he is un-convinced and instead takes it upon himself to question Blanche about Belle Reve. Stanley is shown to be quite an ‘ominous’ character who questions Stella’s decisions as he believes that her decisions aren’t trustworthy due to her good-natured personality which could be due to her constantly forgiving Stanley’s mishaps which is shown to a larger extent in the next chapter. In scene two Stanley is shown in a different light, in Scene one he was portrayed as a kind, humble character but within scene two his focus is mainly on insuring that he is well-off in any transactions that may have been made by Blanche, which seems un-usual for such a humble character which then crates the question is, Stanley as genuine as he first appeared to the reader?. This is shown when Stanley mentions the ‘Napoleonic code’ it shows that he takes a particular interest in anything that he believes could leave him with a loss and dis-regards Stella’s opinion which could show how un-trusting Stanley really is.
    How does Williams use nouns, verbs and adjectives in the scene to create a sense of the characters, generate interest and colour?
    In this scene Stella is shown to ‘follow’ Stanley which could generate interest from the reader as it emphasises the fact that Stanley has authority over Stella, despite Stella being the level-headed party. In this scene Blanche is shown to be wearing a ‘red robe’. This is a complete contrast to her ‘white suit’ within the first scene which could show the connotations of the red robe showing the tension she creates between Stella and Stanley. The use of words such as ‘playfully’ and ‘passion’ as stage directions for Blanche show that in scene two Blanche’s shown to be flirtatious with Stanley, despite it being inappropriate considering Stanley is her brother-in-law, which could show Blanche’s true vulnerability as she uses flirting as a protection to avoid situations where she feels un-comfortable.
    What topics of conversation are coming up again and again? Why is this?
    The topic of Blanche ‘swindling’ the Kowalski’s is constantly repeated throughout this scene which could suggest that although Stella insists Blanche is trustworthy Stanley may know something that the audience is unaware of that makes him feel she’s not to be trusted or that she is hiding something, which emphasises to the reader the lack of communication between the Kowalski’s and Blanche. Another recurring topic is Stella’s pregnancy; this is shown to the audience as a sensitive subject and Stella tries to stop Stanley from mentioning the subject to Blanche, which shows the audience that there must be a previous reason that they are un-aware of that’s stopping her from sharing what appears to be good news. This could be due to Stella’s loyalty to Blanche as throughout scene two she is determined to protect her sister and could be worried that telling Blanche about the pregnancy may remind her of a life she could have had with her husband.

    What do you think will happen next?
    I think it is most likely that the tension will rise between Stella and Stanley which will therefore result in an argument about Blanche. It is also likely that Blanche and Stanley will have some sort of confrontation to do with Belle Reve, or her attitude towards Stella and possibly Blanche may show more vulnerability and share with the audience information about her husband.

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  9. Annabelle Jupp

    1. Why is Stella reluctant to tell Blanche about being pregnant?

    Stella is reluctant to tell Blanche about being pregnant because she doesn’t want to remind of the life Blanche could’ve had if her husband hadn’t died when she was younger. Stella is worried about Blanche getting frantic again as she says “Don’t mention the baby! I’m waiting until she gets into a quieter condition”.

    2. What do we learn about Stella and Blanche’s relationship in this scene?

    Stella worries about Blanche a lot and wants her to feel welcome and respected by saying to Stanley “Admire her dress and tell her she’s looking wonderful”. This also indicates that Stella is worried about Blanche’s current temperament at the current moment in time. Blanche however is very motherly towards Stella saying phrases such as “Run to the drug store and get me a lemon coke”.

    3. How important are the stage directions in this scene?

    The stage directions are very important as they give more depth about the characters motions. This occurs when Williams scribes “Leaving the door open” about Stanley, which makes the audience relate to the fact that he is lazy and doesn’t care. “He accepts with lordly composure” again about Stanley, which shows that he thinks he is superior. The stage directions also show the anger and tension progression between Blanche and Stanley.

    4. How does Williams generate mystery around the character of Blanche in this scene?

    Firstly, Blanche says she is willing to answer any questions, yet Williams has written her character so that when Stanley asks her a question, she uses flirting as a distraction so she avoids any information about her personal life escaping. This makes the audience look deeper into her character. Also, Williams gives us an insight to Blanche’s previous life when Stella says “She’s been through such an ordeal”, this makes the audience begin to presume stuff about Blanche’s life.

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  10. Georgia

    Why is Stella reluctant to tell Blanche about being pregnant?
    I believe Stella wants to break it to Blanche gently (that she is having a baby) because naturally I feel that Stella is a caring character and does not want to upset her sister. Blanche being the older sister has no children and this is probably embarrassing for Blanche considering she is several years older. In the previous scene we found out that, unfortunately, Blanche’s husband had died. This stands out as the obvious reason as to why Blanche has no children and I get the impression Stella feels sorry for her.

    What do we learn about Stella and Blanche’s relationship in this scene?
    We learn that they are not as close as you assume sisters to be. Stella is too scared to tell her sister she is pregnant; I find this odd because most women, one of the first people they tell is their sister. Also I think Blanche is awful for flirting with her sisters husband; if she really cared about her sister she would not do this and would not demand Stella to go and get her a drink. I believe that Blanche makes a mug of Stella and Stella is too naive to realise it.

    How important are the stage directions in this scene?
    Stage directions in this scene are really important especially to show how aggressive Stanley’s character is. For example when Blanche is in the bath he is talking to Stella about how Blanche has all these expensive things and he is quite angry and agitated about it. He believes that Blanche has taking all the money she has ‘supposedly’ got from Belle Reve and used it to buy all her luxury items. We know this annoys Stanley as the stage directions describe his actions: ‘kicks at the trunk’, ‘jerks out an armful of dresses’. The stage directions tells us when (as an audience) we need to pay deep attention to the play. Another example is when Stanley tells Blanche Stella is pregnant the sound of a piano ‘plays louder’ signifying a dramatic, tense moment.

    How does Williams generate mystery around the character of Blanche in this scene?
    Blanche has all these expensive items of clothing such as ‘a solid gold dress’ and ‘feathers and furs’ as well as a trunk full of jewellery including lots of pearls. As an audience we are intrigued as to where she has got the money from to buy such beautiful pieces. It believes us to think that she has wasted all the money she may have accumulated from Belle Reve house and spent it on expensive things, then has the cheek to turn up at her sisters explaining she has virtually nothing. On the other hand Blanch is an attention seeker who seeks attention from Stanley (her sisters husband) this shows how desperate she is and makes me feel cold towards her character. It makes you wonder more about what sort of state she is in and whether anything more will develop between her and Stanley.

    Reply
  11. Alex Murphy

    Alex Murphy

    Why is Stella reluctant to tell Blanche about being pregnant?

    Stella is aware that Blanche has recently been under an awful lot of stress and worry after losing her family home, Belle Reve. This could be a reason why Stella would not want to burden her already worried sibling, with the thought of another mouth to feed. We see in the opening that Stella is more or less reluctant to converse in an enthusiastic manner with her sister, whom she hasn’t seen for some considerable time. We could assume Stella does not like her sister, and therefore would not want her around to take care/help out with this new family member.

    What do we learn about Stella and Blanche’s relationship in this scene?

    We see slight detachment between Stella and Blanche (in body) in this scene. Rarely together, the two still communicate through Stanley, who is suspicious- and very flirtatious of Blanche. In the beginning of the scene we see Stella defend her Sister’s integrity by claiming Belle Reve was simply ‘lost’, whereas Stanley believes Blanche sold Belle Reve for personal gain. Overall we see Stella’s loyalty to Blanche as strong, and Blanche’s loyalty Stella as weak (due to her flirtatious nature towards her brother in law).

    Reply
    1. talesbehindtheclassroomdoor Post author

      Is Stanley flirtatious towards Blanche? Possibly, above all he is very inquisitive; there are many reasons for this. I think your analysis of the relationship between Blanche and Stella could be developed with more textual analysis.

      Reply

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