After reading￼ scene 9 provide a summary that is brief and detailed
Scene 9: A while later that evening. Blanche is seated in a tense hunched position in a bedroom chair that she has re- covered with diagonal green and white stripes. She has on her scarlet satin robe. On the table beside chair is a bottle of liquor and a glass. The rapid, feverish polka tune, the “Varsouviana,” is heard. The music is in her mind; she is drinking to escape it and the sense of disas- ter closing in on her, and she seems to whisper the words of the song. An electric fan is turning back and forth across her. Mitch comes around the corner in work clothes: blue denim shirt and pants. He is unshaven. He climbs the steps to the door and rings. Blanche is startled. BLANCHE: Who is it, please? MITCH [hoarsely] : Me. Mitch. [The polka tune stops.] BLANCHE: Mitch!-Just a minute. [She rushes about frantically, hiding the bottle in a closet, crouching at the mirror and dabbing her face with cologne and powder. She is so excited that her breath is audible as she dashes about. A t last she rushes to the door in the kitchen and lets him in.] Mitch!-Y’know, I really shouldn’t let you in after the treatment I have received from you this evening! So utterly uncavalier! But hello, beautifulI [She offers him her lips. He ignores it and pushes past her into the flat. She looks fearfully after him as he stalks into the bedroom.] My, my, what a cold shoulder! And such uncouth ap- parel! Why, you haven’t even shaved! The unforgiveable insult to a lady I But I forgive you. I forgive you because it’s such a relief to see you. You’ve stopped that polka tune that I had caught in my head. Have you ever had anything caught in your head? No, of course you haven’t, you dumb angel-puss, you’d never get anything awful caught in your headI [He stares at her while she follows him while she talks. It is obtlious that he has had a few drinks on the way otler.] MITCH: Do we have to have that fan on? BLANCHE: Nol MITCH: I don’t like fans. BLANCHE: Then let’s turn it off, honey. I’m not partial to themI [She presses the switch and the fan nods slowly off. She clears her throat uneasily as Mitch plumps himself down on the bed in the bedroom and lights a cig- arette. ] I don’t know what there is to drink. I-haven’t investi- gated. MITCH: I don’t want Stan’s liquor. BLANCHE: It isn’t Stan’s. Everything here isn’t Stan’s. Some things on the premises are actually mine I How is your mother? Isn’t your mother well? MITCH: Why? BLANCHE: Something’s the matter.tonight, but never mind. I won’t cross-examine the witness. I’ll just- [She touches her forehead vaguely. The polka tune starts up again.] -pre- tend I don’t notice anything different about you 1T h a t – mUSIC agam… MITCH: What music? BLANCHE: The “Varsouviana” I The polka tune they were playing when Allan- Wait! [A distant revolver shot is heard. Blanche seems relieved.] There now, the shot! It always stops after that. [The polka music dies out again.] Yes, now it’s stopped. MITCH: Are you boxed out of your mind? BLANCHE: I’ll go and see what I can find in the way of- [She crosses into the closet, pretending to search for the bottle.] Oh, by the way, excuse me for not being dressed. But I’d practically given you upl Had you forgotten your invita- tion to supper? MITCH: I wasn’t going to see you any more. BLANCHE: Wait a minute. I can’t hear what you’re saying and you talk so little that when you do say something, I don’t want to miss a single syllable of it. … What am I looking around here for? Oh, yes-liquor I We’ve had so much excitement around here this evening that I am boxed out of my mind! [She pretends suddenly to find the bottle. Re draws his foot up on the bed and stares at her con-temptuously.] Here’s something. Southern Comfort! What is that, I wonder? MITCH: If you don’t know, it must belong to Stan. BLANCHE:Take your foot off the bed. It has a light cover on it.Of course you boys don’t notice things like that. I’ve done so much with this place since I’ve been here. MITCH: I bet you have. BLANCHE: You saw it before I came. Well, look at it nowI This room is almost-dainty! I Want to keep it that way. I wonder if this stuff ought to be mixed with something? Ummm, it’s sweet, so sweet! It’s terribly, terribly sweet! Why, it’s a liqueur, I believe! Yes, that’s what it is, a liqueur! [Mitch grunts.] I’m afraid you won’t like it, but try it, and maybe you will. MITCH: I told you already I don’t want none of his liquor and I mean it. You ought to layoff his liquor. He says you been lapping it up all summer like a wild-cat! BLANCHE: What a fantastic statement! Fantastic of him to say it, fantastic of you to repeat it! I won’t descend to the level of such cheap accusations to answer them, even! MITCH: Huh. BLANCHE: What’s in your mind? I see something in your eyes! MITCH [getting up]: It’s dark in here. BLANCHE: I like it dark. The dark is comforting to me. MITCH: I don’t think I ever seen you in the light. [Blanche laughs breathlessly] That’s a facti BLANCHE: Is it? MITCH: I’ve never seen you in the afternoon. BLANCHE: Whose fault is that? MITCH: You never want to go out in the afternoon. BLANCHE: Why, Mitch, you’re at the plant in the afternoonI MITCH: Not Sunday afternoon. I’ve asked you to go out with me sometimes on Sundays but you always make an excuse. You never want to go out till after six and then it’s always some place that’s not lighted much. BLANCHE: There is some obscure meaning in this but I fail to catch it. 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 00 the light bulb. She utters a frightened gasp.] BLANCHE: What did you do that for? MITCH: So I can take a look at you good and plain! BLANCHE: Of course you don’t really mean to be insulting! MITCH: No, just realistic. BLANCHE: I don’t want realism. I want magic! [Mitch laughs] Yes, yes, magic! I try to give that to people. I misrepresent things to them. I don’t tell truth, I tell what ought to be truth. And if that is sinful, then let me be damned for itt-Don’t turn the light on! [Mitch crosses to the switch. He turns the light on and stares at her. She cries out and covers her face. He turns the l£ght off again.] MITCH [slowly and bitterly] : I don’t mind you being older than what I thought. But all the rest of it-Christ! That pitch about your ideals being so old-fashioned and all the malarkey that you’ve dished out all summer. Oh, I knew you weren’t sixteen any more. But I was a fool enough to believe you was straight. BLANCHE: Who told you I wasn’t-‘straight’? My loving brother- in-law. And you believed him. MITCH: I called him a liar at first. And then I checked on the story. First I asked our supply-man who travels through Laurel. And then I talked directly over long-distance to this merchant. BLANCHE: Who is this merchant? MITCH: Kiefaber. BLANCHE: The merchant Kiefaber of Laurel! I know the man. He whistled at me. I put him in his place. So now for revenge he makes up stories about me. MITCH: Three people, Kiefaber, Stanley and Shaw, swore to them! BLANCHE: Rub-a-dub-dub, three men in a tub! And such a filthy tub! MITCH: Didn’t you stay at a hotel called The Flamingo? BLANCHE: Flamingo? No! Tarantula was the name of it! I stayed at a hotel called The Tarantula Arms! MITCH [stupidly]: Tarantula? BLANCHE: Yes, a big ,spider! That’s where I brought my victims. [She pours herself another drink] Yes, I had many intimacies with strangers. After the death of Allan- intimacies with strangers was all I seemed able to fill my empty heart with…. I think it was panic, just panic, that drove me from one to another, hunting for some protection-here and there, in the most-unlikely places-even, at last, in a seventeen-year-old boy but- somebody wrote the superintendent about it-“This woman is morally unfit for her position!” 138 [She throws back her head with convulsive, sobbing laughter. Then she repeats the statement, gasps, and drinks.] True? Yes, I suppose-unfit somehow-anyway…. So I came here. There was nowhere else I could go. Lwas played out. You know what played out is? My youth was suddenly gone up the water-spout, and-I met you. You said you needed somebody. Well, I needed some- body, too. I thanked God for you, because you seemed to be gentle-a cleft in the rock of the world that I could hide inI But I guess I was asking, hoping-too muchI Kiefaber, Stanley and Shaw have tied an old tin can to the tail of the kite. [There is a pause. Mitch stares at her dumbly.] MITCH: You lied to me, Blanche. BLANCHE: Don’t say I lied to you. MITCH: Lies, lies, inside and out, all lies. BLANCHE: Never inside, I didn’t lie in my heart … [A Vendor comes around the corner. She is a blind Mexican woman in a dark shawl, carrying bunches of those gaudy tin flowers that lower class Mexicans dis- play at funerals and other festive occasions. She is calling barely audibly. Her figure is only faintly vis- ible outside the building.] MEXICAN WOMAN: Flores. Flores. Flores para los muertos. Flores. Flores. BLANCHE: What? OhI Somebody outside … [She goes to the door, opens it and stares at the Mexican Woman.] 137 MEXICANWOMAN [sheisatthedoorandoffersBlanche some of her flowers] : Flores? Flores para los muertos ? BLANCHE [frightened]: No, no! Not now! Not now! [She darts back into the apartment, slamming the door.] MEXICAN WO¥AN [she turns away and starts to move down the street] : Flores para los muertos. [The polka tune fades in.] BLANCHE [asiftoherself]: Crumble and fade and-regrets-recriminations .•• ‘If you’d done this, it wouldn’t’ve cost me that l’ MEXICAN WOMAN: Corones para los muertos. Corones •.• BLANCHE: Legacies! Huh…. And other things such as bloodstained pillow-slips-‘Her linen m:eds changing’-‘Yes Mother. But couldn’t we get a colored girl to’ do it?’ No, we couldn’t of course. Everything gone but the- MEXICAN WOMAN: Flores. BLANCHE: Death-I used to sit here and she used to sit over there and death was as close as you are..•. We didn’t dare even admit we had ever heard of it! MEXICAN WOMAN: Flores para los muertos, flores-flores . . . BLANCHE: The opposite is desire. So do you wonder? How could you possibly wonder! Not far from Belle Reve, before 138 we had lost Belle Reve, was a camp where they trained young soldiers. On Saturday nights they would go in town to get drunk- MEXICAN WOMAN [softly]: Corones … BLANCHE: – a n d on the way b~ck they would stagger onto my lawn and call-‘Blanche! Blanche!,-The deaf old lady re- maining suspected nothing. But sometimes I slipped outside to answer their calls. . . . Later the paddy-wagon would gather them up like daisies … the long way home … [The Mexican Woman turns slowly and drifts back off with her soft mournful cries. Blanche goes to the dresser and leans forward on it. After a moment, Mitch rises and follows her purposefully. The polka music fades away. He places his hands on her waist and tries to turn her about. ] BLANCHE: What do you want? MITCH [fumbling to embrace her]: What I been missing all summer. BLANCHE: Then marry me, Mitch! MITCH: I don’t think I want to marry you any more. BLANCHE: No? MITCH [dropping his hands from her waist] : You’re not clean enough to bring in the house with my mother. BLANCHE: Go away, then. [He stares at her] Get out of here quick before I start screaming firel [Her throat is
tightening with hysteria] Get out of here quick before I start scream- ing fire. [He still remains staring. She suddenly rushes to the big window with its pale blue square of the soft sum- mer light and cries wildly.] Fire! Fire! Fire! [With a startled gasp, Mitch turns and goes out the outer door, clatters awkwardly down the steps and around the corner of the building. Blanche staggers back from the window and falls to her knees. The dis- tant piano is slow and blue.]
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