Scene Four - Glow Blogs

Kelso High School
A Streetcar named Desire
by Tennessee Williams
Scene Four
Although this scene is short it is very
important in the drama.
Turning Point
Turning Point -
Why is Scene 4 the turning point?
When Stanley returning home unheard by
either Blanche or Stella overhears Blanche’s
condemnation of him, it is clear that
Blanche’s fate is now sealed as Stanley will
only rest when she is completely removed
from his life
Why is Scene 4 the turning point?
By the end of this scene the audience is now
aware that Stella has chosen Stanley over
Blanche, a decision which leaves Stanley
triumphant and Blanche isolated
Why is Scene 4 the turning point?
Finally the scene introduces the metaphor of
the streetcar. This in itself suggests that
there is now no turning back for Blanche and
that she is now headed for disaster
Blanche tells Stella that sheer desire is no basis for a
marriage. She invokes the streetcar, “that bangs
through the Quarter, up one old narrow street and
down another” as a metaphor for what she believes
Stella feels
Blanche fails to understand Stella’s passionate
relationship with her husband. It seems that with all
her sexual experience she has never experienced
true love
Characterisation: Blanche
Stella asks whether Blanche has ever ridden the
streetcar. Blanche replies, “It brought me here,
where I’m not wanted and where I’m ashamed to
be……” This is true both literally and metaphorically.
Literally, it was indeed a streetcar named “Desire”
which brought her to Stella’s. Metaphorically, Stella,
Stanley and Mitch soon learn that Blanche’s search
for sexual desire led to her expulsion from Laurel,
while her family’s need to shroud desire and cover
up “epic fornications” led to the break-up of the Belle
Reve estate and the impoverishment of the present
Characterisation: Blanche
This scene also reveals Blanche to be entirely
calculating when it comes to relations with men, “I
think of money in terms of what it does for you”
Blanche’s threat to “laugh in Stella’s face” if Stella
tries to claim that her attraction to Stanley is just “one
of those electric things” shows that Blanche does not
truly believe in love. Throughout the play she claims
to possess romantic notions but this scene reveals
her to be a cold cynic
Characterisation: Blanche
Scene Four also contains one of Blanche’s
most famous speeches in which she
describes how human kind has evolved too
far past the beast that Stanley represents for
Stella to reduce herself to his level, “There’s
even something – sub-human - something
not quite to the stage of humanity”
Characterisation: Stella
Although Stella technically condemns Stanley’s
propensity for violence, it is clear that his violent
nature heightens Stella’s desire for him e.g. she finds
the light bulb incident on their honeymoon “thrilling”
The stage directions at the beginning of the scene
which liken Stella’s face after a night with Stanley to
an “Eastern idol” suggest that there is something
mystical about their relationship
Characterisation: Stella
Stella has lost patience with Blanche’s hysterical
plans and her irritation shows in her dry, ironical
comments. She begins to resent her sister’s
disapproval and harsh criticism of Stanley
Indeed the difference in the sisters’ attitudes to
passion, shows that despite their common
background and social values, they are very different
characters and this influences Stella’s decision to
choose Stanley, “I’m not in anything I have a desire
to get out of” and “Stella has embraced him with both
arms, fiercely and in full view of Blanche”
Characterisation : Stanley
Having overheard Blanche’s condemnation
of him as a “brute” and as an “ape-man”,
Stanley now has even more reason to dislike
Blanche and an even greater wish to find a
way to get rid of her. His “triumphant grin” at
the close of the scene promises ill for
The use of the locomotion is clever as its noise
means that Stella and Blanche are unaware that
Stanley has returned. It also symbolises the idea of
fate as once Stanley overhears Blanche’s
condemnation of him, her fate is now sealed and he
will not rest until she is gone
The constant sound of the Blue Piano symbolises
sadness and loss. It plays again at the moment that
Stella chooses Stanley