Qwiz5 Quizbowl Essentials: Blanche DuBois

Blanche DuBois is the central character in A Streetcar Named Desire, a play by Tennessee Williams. Blanche is a southern belle who leaves Mississippi to move in with her sister Stella and brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski in New Orleans.


By analyzing questions, you can see patterns emerge - patterns that will help you answer more questions. Qwiz5 is all about those patterns. In each installment of Qwiz5, we take an answer line and look at its five most common clues. Here we explore five clues that will help you answer a tossup on Blanche DeBois.


LAUREL

Blanche is from Laurel, Mississippi, where she was an English teacher before being fired for having an affair with a student.


BELLE REVE

Belle Reve is the plantation where Blanche lived in Mississippi before losing it to creditors. She is unable to pay her bills after the suicide of her husband Allan Grey whom she caught having an affair with another man. After losing Belle Reve, but before moving to New Orleans, she lived in the Flamingo Hotel before she was kicked out for "immoral behavior".


MITCH

Mitch is a regular at the poker game hosted by Stanley Kowalski. Mitch and Blanche fall in love, but ultimately Mitch rejects Blanche after finding out about Blanche’s past in Mississippi.


SHEP HUNTLEIGH

Shep is a former suitor of Blanche’s. After she has a mental breakdown, Blanche fantasizes that Shep is returning to take her away from her troubled life in New Orleans.


“I HAVE ALWAYS DEPENDED ON THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS”

After being rejected by Mitch and raped by Stanley, Blanche descends into madness. At the end of the play, Blanche says, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers” to a doctor who has come to take her to a mental institution.

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Quizbowl is about learning, not rote memorization, so we encourage you to use this as a springboard for further reading rather than as an endpoint. Here are a few things to check out:


* The Paris Review takes a unique approach to analyzing Blanche DuBois - by inspecting her luggage.

* NPR's Weekend Edition did a segment on Blanche DuBois:

* Want to read A Streetcar Named Desire? You can find the full text here.

* Here's the trailer for the 1951 film adaptation starring Vivien Leigh as Blanche and Marlon Brando as Stanley:



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