The Purpose of this Blog

Your task on this blog is to write a brief summary of what we learned in class today. Include enough detail so that someone who was ill or missed the lesson can catch up with what they missed. Over the course of the term, these 'class scribe' posts will grow to be a guide book for the course, written by students for students.

With each post ask yourself the following questions:
1) Is this good enough for our guide book?
2) Will your post enable someone who wasn't here to catch up?
3) Would a graphic/video/link help to illustrate what we have learned?

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

A Streetcar named Desire - Blanche

The lesson focused on how Tennessee Williams characterises Blanche, and how she fits into the outdated model of the American South; where citizens were placed into a class based on race/skin colour.

A playwright gives a character its ‘personality’ through what they do and how they do it.

What a playwright does to create the ‘character’:

- Give the character a name.

- Create a history.

- Create an image of the character through their appearance.

- I.e. looks, clothing, etc.

- Invest in the qualities of the character.

- The attitudes/idea of the character.

How a playwright does it:

- Interaction of characters

- Their behaviour

- Dramatic devices

- Imagery

- I.e. symbols, motifs.

- Language used

Whilst watching a clip of Scarlett O'Hara from ‘Gone with the Wind’, which was also set during the Civil War in the American South, we used what playwrights do to ‘label’ our own ideas of her characterisation. Then, whilst reading ‘A Streetcar named Desire’, we created another mind map for Blanche DuBois’ characterisation. Other than just writing about what playwrights do, we also included examples of how the do it. For example, she is in denial when she says is not a ‘drunkard’ when she had just a couple of tumblers of whisky.

After characterising Blanche, you could see that her personality/attitude/appearance is incongruous to the setting as New Orleans is not segregated and people live together ‘harmoniously’ regardless of race.


  1. This is a good, descriptive insight into the lesson that we had. By comparing Blanche's characterisation with a character from 'gone with the wind', it gives us a visualisation of the type of person that Blanche is as both characters are traditional 'southern belles'.
    This also made it easier to identify just how incongruous Blanche is within Elysian fields, where her sister Stella lives.

  2. Go on Deanna!! Haha.
    This blog is brilliant, it fully depicts the entire lesson into how you saw it which gives me another way of looking at it. Also, the example is useful to me as I can now see how I could write about her in future. I found studying Blanche very interesting as she seems to be quite a peculiar character and I feel she will change her personality soon in the novel.

  3. This is a really good blog as it summarises everything we went through this lesson.

    We also identified Blanche as being incongruous through her actions. This was demonstrated when she held her bag tightly and clenched her legs. This showed she was uncomfortable and quite sceptical, emphasising how out of place she feels.


  4. This is really good.
    We used the playwright's way of giving their character meaning to unravel Blanche's character. This helped a lot in finding out certain aspects of Blanche's personality. By reading into her character we found out that Blanche is a very interesting character.


  5. This is a really good blog, it gives us a descriptive insight into the lesson and everything we discussed.
    From us seeing the woman from 'Gone with the Wind' we managed to see how old southern girls were and then from reading the small part about Blanche we managed to see the differences and similarities between the two. It also meant that we could understand Blanche's character a little more.


  6. Nice blog Deanna!
    It really helps people who were'nt in the lesson for e.g wilson.I also think that blanche is going to be the main character in this playwright because a lot has been said about her character in very little time.We know this from the brainstorms we did about her and we found that her character is very peculiar as a lot of people have said in this blog.

  7. i cant think of anything to add after the other comments, but good description and summary of what we did in the lesson, i missed most of the first hour and gave me some insight into what happened with the characterisation of scarlet o'hara so thank you for that.

  8. pretty damn good...
    i guess like sophie, i to feel as though as we progress with the play we will find Blanche to change despite our first impressions. What we made clear is that she is in a very uncomfortable environment and her immediate response to cool her nerves was to turn to alcohol. With this in mind it can allow us to be more open minded and think why she is behaving in this incongruous manner. Do you think that her dependance on alcohol suggests that she may be stressed due to bad experiences in the past?
    think about that baby...

  9. great work on the blog not much more to say.


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