We asked a school pupil ‘Who’s your favourite character in Streetcar?’. Here is what they said:
My favourite character is Mitch because I think he gets a bit of a raw deal in the play and I can’t help feeling sorry for him.
Mitch is a decent human being who is constantly trying to please his mother and is accused by Stanley of being a mummy’s boy because of it. He maybe resents his mum because he’s been away in the army and travelled a lot, but now he’s stuck at home looking after her. If he does resent her though, he doesn’t really show it. He just does it because it’s his duty which makes me like him because he cares enough to put his own feelings to one side.
Mitch is kind and sensitive and falls in love with Blanche, even though she kind of looks down on him as being “lesser” than she is. She just tolerates him, and tries to use him as an escape route from her problems which is not fair. He is a gentleman but she is not a lady, even if she seems to act like one. She manipulates Mitch and toys with him to get what she wants. Mitch is not the hero Blanche thinks she deserves. He’s a bit awkward and worries about being “sweaty”, but that makes me like him even more – he puts himself down too much. He is polite and well liked by his friends and by Stella, but Blanche just takes advantage of his good nature. His interests, like playing poker and working out at the gym are rough and common to Blanche. He was a soldier and now does manual work and she thinks she is superior to him. However, he is really impressed by her glamorous good looks and her classiness.
Cruelly, Blanche uses the fact that Mitch is in awe of her to play games with him – she tricks him into flattering her and insults his lack of education by teasing him in French. Again this makes me feel sorry for him. He is the victim of her nastiness, but he is so decent that he continues to be impressed by her. His honest affection for her makes me like him even more. Blanche and Mitch are drawn together because they are both lonely and have both experienced the death of someone they loved. I think, because he has lost another girlfriend it makes Mitch’s affection for Blanche seem more honest and straight-forward, but Blanche is false with him. She acts as if she is prim and proper trying to trick him into marrying her. She hides the truth about her many sexual partners from him and makes herself out to be more innocent than she is. In a way she makes Mitch feel like a fool but I don’t think he is. It’s not his fault that she is a fantasist. It’s because he is so nice that he can’t see through her.
Mitch’s reaction when Stanley tells him the truth about Blanche’s past is really sad. I can’t help feeling that Stanley was so determined to reveal the truth about Blanche that he doesn’t care at all about his “buddy” Mitch’s feelings at all. It shows Stanley is much nastier than his friend. Mitch is really upset by what Stanley says and even cries showing that he must have really cared for Blanche. If only Blanche had appreciated that Mitch was a good and decent person, he could have loved her with the devotion she was looking for. If she had given him a chance, she could have been happy. On the other hand, I’m glad Mitch finds out the truth because probably Blanche would not have been a reliable partner for him. She didn’t see the goodness in him that I see and she didn’t appreciate his decency so, really, he deserved better. I hope he goes on to be happy in life.
© E.F. Lee