Flashcards in Streetcar quotes Deck (4):
"They told me to take a street-car named Desire, and transfer to one called Cemeteries, and ride six blocks and get off at—Elysian Fields!" - Blanche
Blanche speaks these words at her arriving at the Kowalski apartment at the beginning of Scene One.
Name holds obvious metaphorical value. Elysian Fields, the Kowalskis’ street, is named for the land of the dead in Greek mythology.
The journey that Blanche describes making from the train station to the Kowalski apartment is an allegorical version of her life up to this point in time.
Her pursuit of her sexual “desires” led to her social death and expulsion from Mississippi.
In the rural New Orleans Blanche begins a sort of afterlife, in which she learns and lives the consequences of her life’s actions.
"I am not a Polack. People from Poland are Poles, not Polacks. But what I am is a one hundred percent American, born and raised in the greatest country on earth and proud as hell of it, so don’t ever call me a Polack." -Stanley
Blanche makes derogatory and ignorant remarks about Stanley’s Polish ethnicity throughout the play, implying that it makes him stupid and simple.
In Scene Eight, Stanley finally snaps and speaks these words, correcting Blanche’s many misapprehensions and forcefully exposing her as an uninformed bigot.
His declaration of being a proud American carries great thematic weight, for Stanley does indeed represent the new American society, which is composed of upwardly mobile immigrants.
Blanche is a relic in the new America. The Southern landed aristocracy from which she assumes her sense of superiority no longer has a viable presence in the American economy, so Blanche is disenfranchised monetarily and socially.
"Whoever you are—I have always depended on the kindness of strangers." -Blanche
Blanche’s final statement in the play to the Doctor.
She perceives the doctor as the gentleman rescuer for whom she has been waiting since arriving in New Orleans. Blanche’s final comment is ironic for two reasons:
1) First, the doctor is not the chivalric Shep Huntleigh type of gentleman Blanche thinks he is.
2)Second, Blanche’s dependence “on the kindness of strangers” rather than on herself is the reason why she has not fared well in life. In truth, strangers have been kind only in exchange for sex. Otherwise, strangers like Stanley, Mitch, and the people of Laurel have denied Blanche the sympathy she deserves.
Blanche’s final remark indicates her total detachment from reality and her decision to see life only as she wishes to perceive it.