A Streetcar Named Desire

I, I, I took the blows in my face and my

Blanche DuBois

A Streetcar Named Desire

See more monologues from Tennessee Williams


Age Range
Act 1, Scene 1
Time & Place
Stella and Stanley’s apartment in New Orleans, 1940s
Time Period
Show Type

Monologue Context

Blanche has unexpectedly come to visit her sister, Stella, who lives in a cramped

Monologue Text

I, I, I took the blows in my face and my body! All of those deaths! The long parade to the graveyard! Father, Mother! Margaret, that dreadful way! So big with it, couldn't be put in a coffin! But had to be burned like rubbish! You just came home in time for the funerals, Stella. And funerals are pretty compared to deaths. Funerals are quiet, but deaths- not always. Sometimes their breathing is hoarse, and sometimes it rattles, and sometimes they even cry out to you, "Don't let me go!" Even the old, sometimes, say, "Don't let me go." As if you were able to stop them! But funerals are quiet, with pretty flowers. And, oh, what gorgeous boxes they pack them away in! Unless you were there at the bed when they cried out, "Hold me!" you'd never suspect there was a struggle for breath and bleeding. You didn't dream, but I saw! Saw! Saw! And now you sit here telling me with your eyes that I let the place go! How in hell do you think all that sickness and dying was paid for? Death is expensive, Miss Stella! And old Cousin Jessie's right after Margaret's, hers! Why, the Grim Reaper had put up his tent on our doorstep! ? Stella. Belle Reve was his headquarters! Which of them left us a fortune? Which of them left a cent of insurance even? Only poor Jessie- one hundred to pay for her coffin. That was all, Stella! And I with my pitiful salary at the school. Yes, accuse me! Sit there and stare at me, thinking I let the place go! I let the place go? Where were you! In bed with your- Polack!

Williams, Tennessee. A Streetcar Named Desire Signet Books, 1951. pp.26-7.

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