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Psychoanalytic Theory as applied to Blanche and Mitch from A Streetcar Named Desire
Transcript of Psychoanalytic Theory as applied to Blanche and Mitch from A Streetcar Named Desire
Avoidance - Blanche avoids light in an effort to hide her flaws. This is seen with the motif of the paper lantern and her refusal to see Mitch during the day.
Regression - Blanche relives the suicide of Allan through the polka music and the gunshots. Near the end when Mitch leaves her, her regression is much more severe. "MITCH: What it means is I've never had a real good look at you, Blanche. Let's turn the light on here.
BLANCHE [fearfully]: Light? Which light? What for?
MITCH: This one with the paper thing on it. [He tears the paper lantern off the lightbulb. She utters a frightened gasp.]" (Williams 144). This quote has to do with avoidance. Blanche goes so far as to pretend the lantern isn't there in a desperate attempt to keep this veil up. It becomes so painful to be seen in the light that she reacts physically to the lantern being torn off the light. "[A distant revolver shot is heard. Blanche seems relieved.]
BLANCHE: There now, the shot! It always stops after that." (Williams 141). In this scene, Blanche uses regression to cope with the loss of Allan. Blanche is put on a high anxiety level because Mitch is there (and very inebriated) and he knows about Blanche's past. Mitch Defenses
Avoidance - Mitch uses this tactic by staying away from Blanche. By avoiding her entirely, he rules out confrontation with her past.
Active Reversal - Mitch talks to other people about the rumors of Blanche and when he comes to a conclusion, he tries to talk things out with her.
Fear of Abandonment - Mitch wants to marry before his mother passes because he wants to be committed entirely to someone.
Oedipal Fixation - Mitch wants his mother to see him marry because she doesn't seem to have faith in his quest. "MITCH: You lied to me, Blanche.
BLANCHE: Don't say I lied to you.
MITCH: Lies, lies, inside and out, all lies!" (Williams 147). Mitch's fear of betrayal is apparent here because he becomes so upset at the fact that Blanche didn't come forth with her past. He feels that because Blanche wasn't telling him about who she was then, she couldn't be trusted for who she is now. "MITCH: She won't live long. Maybe just a few months.
MITCH: She worries because I'm not settled." (Williams 113). The fear of abandonment is apparent here because he not only doesn't want his mother to die, as that would be the ultimate abandonment, but he doesn't want Blanche to leave him so he wants a solid commitment with her. Core Issues
Fear of Abandonment - Blanche constantly needs the comfort of her sister or other men in order to feel complete.
Low Self-Esteem - Blanche believes that if she isn't young and beautiful, she isn't worth anything
Unstable Sense of Self - When in Laurel, Blanche was okay with her identity as the girl lonely soldiers went to, but she is desperate to lose that image in Elysian Fields