A Streetcar Named Desire

by: Tennessee Williams

Harold “Mitch” Mitchell

She knew she was dying when she give me this. A very strange girl, very sweet—very.

Mitch is having his first conversation with Blanche, who has just admired his silver cigarette case. The case is inscribed with a quotation from Elizabeth Barrett Browning: “And if God choose, I shall but love thee better—after—death.” The lines reveal Mitch’s softer side and his vulnerability, having lost someone he loved. The intimate moment between him and Blanche prompts her to say, “Sorry makes for sincerity, I think.”

I like you to be exactly the way that you are, because in all my—experience—I have never known anyone like you.

Mitch reveals his feelings about Blanche to her during their evening date. Back at the flat, they have a candid conversation about affection and emotions and intentions. During this conversation, Mitch exposes his honest feelings, to himself, to Blanche, and to the audience. Sadly for him, Blanche’s reaction is an outburst of laughter. His honesty and vulnerability are too much to bear for Blanche, a woman who runs from reality.

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. And that is what I weigh stripped.

Mitch’s description of his physical form reveals he is getting comfortable talking to Blanche. He admits that he is self-conscious of perspiring, which is why he doesn’t want to take off his coat and that he has been working out at the New Orleans Athletic Club. Blanche’s reply is, “Oh my goodness, me! It’s awe-inspiring.” It is an intimate moment between them. They are both conscious of their appearances, a fact Blanche could use to develop a real connection with Mitch. Instead, she tries to put him at ease and pave the way for a physical relationship.

You need somebody. And I need somebody, too. Could it be—you and me, Blanche?

At the end on Scene Six, Mitch asks Blanche if she thinks they could be a couple. As if in response, they embrace and kiss. His words are at most a proposal of marriage, at least an admission that they are two lost souls who might have found mates. The scene has been a volatile one where Mitch has listened to Blanche’s confession about her first marriage and its tragic end. At this point in the play, it almost seems that Blanche and Mitch have found love, or at least, peace.

My youth was suddenly gone up the water spout, and—I met you. You said you needed somebody. Well, I needed somebody, too. I thanked God for you, because you seemed to be gentle—a cleft in the rock of the world that I could hide in!

When Mitch shows up after Blanche’s birthday party, she confronts him with many truths, and this admission of her willingness to be with him is among them. Mitch accuses her of lying to him, but she disagrees and states she “didn’t lie in my heart,” a statement that reveals Blanche’s more vulnerable side.