Blanche Du Bois:
Blanche is a woman coming from an aristocratic background. She has lost her home, Belle Reve and also her job as an English teacher and came to her sister?s house to stay for a while. In the past, her first lover died and after that she had changed a lot.
Blanche is described by Tennessee Williams as delicate, sensitive, cultured, and beautiful. She is always ?dressed in a white suit with a fluffy boddice, necklace and ear-rings of pearl, white gloves and hat, looking as if she were arriving at a summer tea or coctail party in the garden district.? (117-Scene I) This whiteness is symbolic that she wants to be seen as pure. Her name also means ?white?. She bathes often because she feels dirty in her body maybe because of her sexual memories. She says ?a hot bath and a long, cold drink always gives me a brand-new outlook on life.? (192-Scene VII) This summarizes her need for bathing. As she is unable to get rid of her dirtiness in her mind, she tries to get rid of it physically. She also drinks a lot because she feels comfortable after that. She escapes into drink rather than facing life as it is.
Her other weakness is about her appearance. She pays too much attention to her appearance because she wants to catch men?s eyes. She admits that while talking to her sister, Stella, by saying: ?I never was hard or self-sufficient enough. When people are soft- soft people have got to court the favour of hard ones, Stella. Have got to be seductive- put on soft colours, the colours of butterfly wings, and glow?I?ve run for protection, Stella?And so the soft people have got to- shimmer and glow ? put a ? paper lantern over the light?? (169-Scene V) She is giving too much importance to her looks. For example, the light is a symbol of this. She is afraid of light. She is getting older and if she is seen in the light, she thinks people will discover her real age and won?t look at her.
Blanche always lies about her situation, her appearance, her age, her everything. This is what Stanley discovers and tells Stella all about it. ?Sister Blanche is no lily.? (186-Scene VII) And another lie she said was about her resignation from the school. It is all because of ? a seventeen-year-old-boy-she?d gotten mixed up with.? (188-Scene VII) She feels so alone and needs security and protection. She admits later to Mitch that after the death of her husband ?intimacies with strangers was all I seemed able to fill my heart with?I think it was panic, just panic, that drove me from one to another, hunting for some protection?? (205-Scene IX) She lies and gets into intimacies with strangers because of her need for protection. She lives in a world of imagination as they comfort her mind. But it?s all to forget the suicide of her husband. She needs attachment to someone who will care for her, be gentle with her and so on. People abused her and this was what forced her to change as Stella tells this to her husband warning him to be gentle with Blanche.
Consequently, her sensitivity and delicacy leads her to be so much affected by brutality of people around her. Her wish for protection can?t be fullfilled and in the end she is sent to an asylum and in order to calm her, the doctor knows the secret, the key to her soul and is gentle and respectful towards her while taking her to the hospital. And the last words of Blanche summarizes all she wanted: ?Whoever you are ? I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.?