One of the core themes in the play A Streetcar Named Desire written by Tennessee Williams is the development of the relationships between Blanche and Mitch. In the beginning, creating a family for sensitive and strong Mitch and delicate and naïve Blanche seems to be a compatible option that meets the mutual needs of the characters. With time, life priorities start changing, and the truth about Blanche’s past proves that these affairs can hardly achieve positive outcomes. Blanche and Mitch would not have a successful marriage because of their differences in appearances, a lack of common topics for conversation, and loneliness as the only reason to stay together.
Personal differences in their appearances and preferred lifestyles introduce one of the possible explanations for why Blanche and Mitch’s marriage cannot be successful. From the first scene, Williams describes Blanche as “daintily dressed in a white suit with a fluffy bodice, necklace and earrings of pearl” (15). The author gives several meaningful comparisons between “a summer tea or cocktail party” and “a moth” to help the reader understand this character as a culturally intelligent who needs support and fascination (Williams 15). Mitch, on the contrary, is “roughly dressed in blue denim work clothes,” shirt and pants (Williams 13). These descriptions show that the woman and the man may be interested in each other as they find something new and uncommon. Mitch is a kind, honest, and open-minded person whose physical appearance is associated with protection and power. Talking about himself, Mitch mentions, “I weigh two hundred and seven pounds and I’m six feet one and one half inches tall in my bare feet – without shoes on” (Williams 90). Blanche, who is as “light as a feather,” admires such an “awe-inspiring” confession but never reveals her numbers (Williams 90). The woman likes manipulating the shy man and using his clumsiness and simplicity to underline her superiority and beauty. These differences are attractive at first, but they may become a serious challenge for developing their relationships in the future. In most cases, strong couples need to complement each other. In this situation, the appearances of Mitch and Blanche are used to strengthen their distinctions and the inability to follow a similar lifestyle.
In addition to their appearances, a lack of common topics for discussion becomes a serious problem in developing the relationships between Blanche and Mitch. When the characters go on their first real date, they cannot find interesting subjects of which they are both aware. Blanche asks questions such as if Mitch is tired or how he can get home (Williams 85). The man shares his fears about poor entertainment and that Blanche is not having much fun (Williams 85). Blanche admits that she tries “obeying the law of nature” and needs to “entertain the gentlemen” (Williams 86). Such awkward phrases and the intention to feel something unreal and pretend are not the signs of genuine feelings. Blanche sees herself in Paris and uses common French expressions to impress Mitch, who, in fact, does not find all this attractive or interesting (Williams 88). Admiring his “massive bone-structure and a very imposing physique,” Blanche hopes to find someone different from his nervous and soft ex-husband (Williams 89, 95). However, the search for differences does not mean satisfaction in love but despair. Asking for permission to kiss the woman means the man is not passionate about her but focuses on social rules and obligations. If there is some place for hesitation, questions, or doubts, a successful marriage is not a matter of time but a question of necessity.
Finally, the quality of Blanche and Mitch’s marriage is doubtful due to their loneliness as the only true reason for them to be together. It does not take much time to realize that mutual needs unite these characters, not passion or love. Mitch does not want to hide his thoughts: “You need somebody. And I need somebody, too” (Williams 96). Blanche cannot get rid of her imaginary world and tells “what ought to be truth, with no “realism,” just “magic” (Williams 117). These relationships are an example of how mutual loneliness predicts human feelings and makes them unable to realize that there is no future. Both are emotionally damaged: Blanche buries her relatives, loses home, and witnesses her husband’s suicide, while Mitch lives with his mother and a cigarette case with the inscription presented by his dead girlfriend (Williams 53). However, the characters choose different ways to deal with their loneliness and personal problems. Blanche is ready to lie and break social norms, like mixing up with a seventeen-year-old student (Williams 101). Mitch takes care of his sick mother and does not feel joy from meetings with people but constantly thinks of how she is (Williams 46). These relationships are doomed due to the incompatible and lonely lifestyles they prefer and the real motives they set for their marriage. Despite the expectations to fill in their emotional gaps, Mitch and Blanche’s marriage is hardly successful due to their styles and attitudes toward life, no common interests, and loneliness as the only reason to stay together.
Williams, Tennessee. A Streetcar Named Desire. Signet Book, 1974.