The lesson focused on how Tennessee Williams characterises Blanche, and how she fits into the outdated model of the American South; where citizens were placed into a class based on race/skin colour.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