Category Archives: Blanche

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?

What do you think of Jessica Lange and Alec Baldwin’s interpretations of Blanche and Stanley?

Jessica Lange and Alec Baldwin interpret Blanche and Stanley in a very different way from Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando in the original film. How and why are their interpretations different? How are the other characters different in this version?

A Student Study Guide To A Streetcar Named Desire

Scene 6: learning about semantic fields

Learning Objectives: to learn about the terminology connected with semantic fields; to develop your speaking and listening skills; your ability to ask high order questions; to develop your reading skills.

Terminology to learn and apply:

Semantic field; this is words which are linked in meaning.

Low-frequency lexis: unusual or rarely spoken/written words

High-frequency lexis: common words

This scene focuses upon Mitch and Blanche’s unfolding relationship. Key discussion point: How does Williams represent Blanche and Mitch in this scene?

TASK: Read in your group the scene and look for words which have the common semantic field of:

Love

Loss

Trauma

Family

Sexuality

Or any other semantic field that you can find.

DISCUSS in your group: WHAT are the words and phrases that employ the semantic field of love/loss/trauma/family? WHO employs these semantic fields and why? WHERE and WHEN does this happen? Write out the phrases that are linked by these semantic fields and explain their effects to your group. Then write down your thoughts.

WHAT are the EFFECTS of these semantic fields, of these words that linked by meaning and theme?

Why is Scene 3 of the play so violent and disturbing?

Learning Objectives: to develop your reading skills by learning how to work out the underlying meanings of the play — its symbolism, its themes, its use of subtext. To reflect upon the key themes and topics of the play; domestic violence and sexual desire. To learn about patriarchal discourses of control and power. To develop your own powers of reader-response.

Some useful terminology:

Patriarchal discourses: these are groups of words, phrases which are used by men to assert control and power over women. You can look for them in any text (every day speech, plays, poems etc) The whole point of these words is they carry the message that men are better than women.

Feminist discourses: these are discourses (groups of words) that assert women’s EQUALITY with men. They are NOT the opposite of patriarchal discourses which assert that men are better than women. The opposite of “patriarchal discourses” is “matriarchal” discourses, where women assert that they are better than men (very rare!)

Respond down below by writing your own “reader response” diary about the scene, describing your own feelings at different points in the scene. What do you think of Stanley, Stella, Blanche and Mitch at different points in the scene? When are the times that you are irritated/intrigued/annoyed/scared etc of certain characters?

Some points to think about in your diary

Stanley explodes in Scene 3. Why do you think Williams has characterised him in this way? How is masculinity represented here? What patriarchal discourses are used by him and why? Do you think Williams is trying to say anything about the ways in which men seek to control women?

 

Here some excerpts from the 1951 film of this scene:

The Rhumba dance:

Stanley crying for Stella:

A rather entertaining school production:

A Streetcar Named Desire, questions on Scene 2

Learning Objectives: to develop your independent reading skills, to learn how to work out what is going on if you are confused, to learn how to discuss literary texts in groups; to learn how Williams uses conflicts between characters to create suspense, mystery and explore certain ideas and themes.

You are going to read until the end of Scene 2 in groups and discuss each scene in turn. Double-up roles if necessary.

This scene focuses primarily on Blanche, Stanley and Stella. What conflict between the characters is revealed here? What really interests you about this scene?

When you’ve finished each scene, have a discussion about what you think of the play so far…Each member in the group has a role:

An explainer: you try your best to explain what you think is going on…
A questioner: you come up with questions to ask the group. Ask open-ended questions such as “What do you think of Blanche?”
A “quoter”: you pick and read out interesting quotes and say why you think they are interesting, asking the group what they think.
A theatre director: you discuss how might stage the play and what actors you would get to play the roles etc.

Homework: Now write your own reflections on what YOU THINK of this scene by replying down below. What do you think of the plot, the characters, the themes and the dramatic techniques? What interests you about the play? What are things you are confused by?

EXTENSION: Watch Suddenly Last Summer, another great Tennessee Williams’ play.