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Character Analysis

Harold ‘Mitch’ Mitchell

‘A Streetcar Named Desire’, written by Tennessee Williams in 147, introduces a variety of characters, whose origins differ in nationality, background and beliefs. I would like to analyze Harold Mitchell, better known as Mitch, whose unusual personality and attitude caught my attention and motivated me to write this commentary on him.

Mitch is indeed the most passive character in the play. He has the same poor working class background as Stanley, but he is certainly not of the same coarseness and vulgarity. In fact, all his poker friends tease him because of his concern about his ailing mother, calling him a ‘mama’s boy’, but he obviously cares more about her well being than their opinion, which he ignores.

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A dependable, hard-working man, he served with Stanley in the war and, like many other young soldiers returning from battle, has settled down in New Orleans and works at a factory with his friends.

Already in their first encounter, Blanche notices his sensitivity and his attempt to be courteous in her presence “Blanche [to Stella] That one seems � superior to the others” (page 146).

When she learns from her sister that he is an eligible bachelor, Blanche immediately shows an open interest in him. Mitch is overwhelmed by her attention, and starts worshiping her as he realizes her noble chaste, purity and innocence, being enchanted by her feminine charm and refined manners. Although kind, Mitch is clearly not her equal and too mediocre for the ‘aristocratic’ Blanche, that is why they make an odd couple. As the pair is shown increasingly together, the differences between them become each time more apparent. Nevertheless, Blanche will have to make compromises, just like her sister has done; but at least Mitch is non-violent and caring, completely different from the uneducated and unrefined Stanley. Mitch can also offer her stability, as evidenced in his devotion to his sick mother. They also share a common bond both of them have loved and lost their partners to death.

There is a distant chance their marriage will work, for they both desperately need someone to love. However, we constantly wonder how long the inflexible and rigid Blanche will be able to tolerate Mitch’s inadequacies. He cannot even dance, but stumbles around like a large bear.

He also respects Blanche sufficiently not to make advances without her permission; he is careful not to suffocate her or overstep his limit. He even tells her to give him a light slap if he does transgress.

Stanley cannot stand the relationship between them, and manages to spoil it all for them. He reveals Blanche’s past to Mitch, who promiscuously listens to her sordid story; feeling duped and betrayed by her after listening to it. He tells Blanche he never wants to see her again, but ironically, he suggests they first enjoy some sex. When she asks for marriage, he cruelly tells her that she is not clean enough to present to his mother.

Repentance comes too late for the sad Mitch. When Blanche is being forced to leave for the state institution, he feels terrible for having played a part in that end for her. As a result, he is left with a life full of loneliness, guilt, misery, and regret.

His attack on Stanley at the end of the play somehow depicts and underscores his fundamental gentlemanliness, showing his violent facet, rather unknown for us; but we, readers, know that he makes the difference all through the play with his personality; in fact, he is the only person other than Stella who seems to understand the tragedy of Blanche’s madness.

In conclusion, all I need to say is that Mitch represents a sort of light among the dull and hostile atmosphere that surrounds this drama, which was why I decided to analyze him and comment on his role in it. Sadly, his character is the most unfortunate and ill fated of them all, and that somehow reveals what this unfair life is all about, and how worthy and valuable people suffer, while dishonest and immodest ones take the credit...

Felipe Chauriye

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