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, 19 October 2011

A Streetcar Named Desire - Fragility and Flirting

In today's lesson we:

  • interpreted Blanche's behaviour with and towards men.

  • understood the importance of desire for the play.

Firstly we discussed and described the behaviour of a moth which comes indoors. We found that they are drawn to the light, repeatedly flutter towards it, swoop around the room or just stay on wall not moving.
We then connected this to the play and we saw that the moth could be Blanche who wants the attention of the male characters especially Mitch and this is similar to a moth attracted to a light and constantly moving towards it.

We then looked at a picture of a butterfly and discussed the difference between a moth and a butterfly and noticed that a butterfly is beautiful and is fragile and delicate while a moth is an ugly insect and isn't seen in the same way as a butterfly.
Again, we connected it to the play and the character of Blanche. We said that:
"Blanche is a combination of a moth and a butterfly. A moth is an insect that outstays their welcome, and is fragile and delicate when attracted to the light. This is similar to Blanche who has to have dimmed light attracted to her. A butterfly is an insect that is beautiful in a different kind of way and attracts the attention of people because of their beauty. This is similar to Blanche as she attracts the attention of Mitch and other male characters."

We then read Scene Five and came across a long piece of dialogue from Blanche, she spoke to Stella about how she really felt and why she acted the way she did. In her speech she used some words that linked to light and gave the impression of a moth.
They were:

  • glow

  • shimmer

  • fading

  • soft colours

  • lantern

  • storm(dark, lightning)

  • butterfly wings

We had to make a table of all the things that could have influenced Blanche.
Personal - Blanche losing her husband when he killed himself.
Social - Blanche socialises in a different way to how others around her would socialise. Example; Blanche socialises with her sister and in a quiet manner, Stanley plays poker with his friends and drinks whiskey.
Political - Blanche is more in touch with Old South values than New South values where Stella now lives.
Historical - The way Blanche has grown up and the values she was taught by her parents is different to the way the New South is.
Gendered - Female who is sexually desired.
Racial - Her values make her look down on the New South and the way they do things.
Sexual - The way she interacts with men in a sexual way/sexually desired.

At the end of Scene Five, Blanche met a new male character and flirted with him which eventually turned into a kiss. We discussed that now we know Blanche likes young men because they are able to keep up with her sexual needs and that it brings memories back of her past.
We made another table of the merits and problems between Blanche's men; Mitch and the Young Man.

Mitch: MERITS - can have sex with Blanche
give her attention
trying to be romantic/flowers
"Rosencavalier" Blanche refers to Mitch as this - playing the role
soft and caring
PROBLEMS - still lives with his mother
not young enough for her
Young Man: MERITS - he's young
PROBLEMS - he's young

Finally we were giving the question "is the episode with the young subscription collector an illustration of Blanche's tragic character or a dramatic device necessary to the plot?" We had to decide which category she came under and the factors for this.
Illustration of Blanche's tragic character was seen to be the best one because

  • of her need for young men

  • the remembrance of her past with her young husband

  • sexual desires

  • necessity to follow through with her sexual desires.



  1. Well done - this blog is fully focused on the learning and you have included all of the principle learning outcomes. I was pleased with the class' linking the ideas of moths and butterflies with Blanche's activity. Also, in identifying the behaviours of Blanche which contribute to her tragedy.

    Please complete the survey - follow the link on the previous post.

    Any questions linked to the homework essay, post them on the blog.

    Mr Gall

  2. Awesome blog Beck, I wasn't in the lesson and so it really helped me catch up on what I missed :D


  3. Bec, this is a really helpful blog.
    By reading over it, it helped me both remember what what we had done in the lesson, and to understand what we had done further:)

  4. Thanks for the blog. Its helped me catch up with the lesson.