Confusion in the World

There is so much – so much confusion in the world.54de69faacb945278bd6886d5531b539
Is it even a world – could I say? – it’s small, cheap,
confusing in its absence of anything holy.
The rim of that good, bottle friend I know so well
is caked with fingerprints and grime and the touch of
other people’s lips – it reminds me of Allen.
They way that his mouth moved around those old, deep vowels
of Southern glamour with a cut-wolf, raffish charm.
It was when we met that this confusion began.
Home Allen would have loved to make Elysian Fields,
neighbouring with that strange sort – drug store Romeos,
backstreet Benvolios, they trade their decency
for desire, like a horrid telling of Hamlet,
but with disregard for a loved one’s agony
and the ghost of a home that was taken away.
Yes, Allen would have loved this place, the streetcar too.
Would’ve loved the city-street whore more than little me.
He was dirty, he was sinful, he was a catch.
Thus from my lips, by thine my sin is purged.
And here we are – Allen dead, and I in this hell.
It is his sin that I repent and suffer for
in the absence of an Antebellum world.
God must want to hurt us all, especially me,
for my Capulet kind is dying in this disease.
And sometimes – there’s God – so quickly!

460068_1.1I was particularly inspired to write this soliloquy when Hope said in class that “Depression is taking five showers a day and still not feeling clean.” To me, Blanche is a person in constant pursuit of purity; such explains her aversion of light and constant bathing. Yet in many forms, when we see a character who obsesses with this pursuit, rarely do they achieve cleanliness. How does one feel clean? Why is it that we feel dirty in the first place?

Shame is a horrible demon. When we feel shame, it is the concept that something within ourselves is wrong. It is the idea that we are unworthy because of this flaw, and that we hurt others because of this as well.

For Blanche Dubois, I believe that the root of her insecurities begins with the death of her young husband. Allen undoubtedly lived in shame. The persecution he faced and the shame he lived with were the cause of his demise. Years later, Blanche still feels responsible for his death. I can only imagine what she must have felt upon arriving in New Orleans, a city at the heart of a movement that promoted sexual awakenings. She would be repulsed, she would be confused. She would be reminded of Allen, as well as forced to examine her own philosophy and motives behind sex.

This poem is a tribute of the side of Blanche that she keeps well hidden. A side that I believe is the root of her character. Her shame drives her motives, her narcissism, her desire, and her reality. It is what contrasts her so well to Stanley, who seemingly has no shame. Shame is the polar opposite emotion to desire, yet it seems that the two are so often interconnected. Society deems what kind of sexualities are considered good, and which ones are bad. Shame. It’s a big bad wolf, so to speak, because of its taboo nature. It is the demeanour and demise of desire. It is the downfall of character, and a dirty thing to clean.


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2 thoughts on “Confusion in the World

  1. Dear Ali,

    After two accidental refreshes and one little godkid shutting my computer, I finally get to your comment. Before we actually begin, I’ll have you know that I wrote two comments and they disappeared. *internally screaming*

    Ok, I’m ready.

    Ahhhhhh, I’m not going to say you surprised me with this piece. That would be a blatant lie. What I am going to say is that you impressed me once again, you are very consistent in impressing me with your words, and I hope I can continue to be impressed. Compliments aside, I loved your poem. Period. The first thing I’m gonna address is the rhythm. The rhythm is uniform throughout the piece. (And trust me, I’ve checked. Thank you 15 years of Piano!) and displays an erratic pace. Just like emotions moving back and forth. Just like Blanche. Anyways, the emotions in this piece is really apparent. I can really see the nostalgia and the yearning for Allen. The imagery is very vivid and enables me to envision the little details, allowing me to focus on the symbolism behind the object. The wording of the poem is really what caught my eye. While I can see your style of writing, I can see a bit of Tennessee Williams in your words. The language fits the time period, and the language fits the intellectual vocabulary of Blanch. Despite the fact that you didn’t completely capture Blanche’s character, I can say with confidence that you are the closest.

    But I need to ask you something, when you said “Blanche is a person in constant pursuit of purity; such explains her aversion of light and constant bathing.” If she was someone who keeps on trying to be pure, why would she have an aversion to light when light has symbolically represented purity. Through this, I would like to respectfully disagree and agree with you. While I agree with you in that Blanche tries to purify herself with the bathing, one would think she would go towards the light. Like in the stage directions in earlier scenes, Blanche has been described as a moth, and moths have a tendency to go towards the light. What I would like to offer is that while Blanche is someone who tries to purify herself, but the shame of her past is preventing herself from being reborn.

    It is a very interesting point you bring up, about shame being her driving force. Would you then argue that her shame is the one that caused her untimely descent into insanity?

    Anyways, thank you so much for so much insight and thank you so much for the beautiful poem. This was amazing to read!

    With much love,

    Bryna Anne

  2. Dear Alissa,

    What you have written is a truly extraordinary and exceptional piece. I feel in this monologue you have captured an essence of whom Blanche is, and consequently you have caused me to shift my perceptions upon who I thought Blanche was.

    When you ended your first sentence with the phrase upon how the world is “confusing in its absence of anything holy,” I found immense significance towards how it related to Blanche. Through this sentence, you have acknowledged how Blanche is an intellectual woman, she realizes that within the world she is living in there is no purity to be found and thus constructs a fantasy that suggests anything but; she slowly is deluding herself.

    The comparison of the grimy alcoholic bottle towards Allan was a truly masterful articulation. You interweaved Blanche’s need for an illusion through the bottle, but through its stained rim, you portrayed Allan’s unsound longing. This sentence was brilliant as the bottle was dirty, which encompassed both Blanche’s and Allan’s desires. And on a larger scale these desires lead towards Allan’s death and Blanche’s death of sanity in a sense.

    I feel the embodiment of Blanche’s character is even more so present when Elysian Fields is described through characters of Shakespeare, as Blanche was an English teacher. I feel there was a method to your writing here, in which every word holds profound importance.

    The line, “Allan dead, and I in his hell,” is an incredible observation and I completely agree with this. Although I feel their youthful love was pure, it became tainted with Allan’s selfish use of Blanche for his need to maintain an illusion of seeming normal when he was homosexual. This impacted Blanche, because she could remain innocent no longer. She suffers the sins (sleeping with young men) she enacted through Allan’s death and deception, which causes her to develop the need to maintain an illusion. But where you push my thinking is in the statement of how shame can also be a demon. This could also be a catalyst towards Blanche’s fabricated illusion, and presents parallelism in the fact the in order for Allan to repent his internal shame he sought out Blanche.

    Perhaps Blanche felt shame that her first love was not truthful in what she believed it to be. This shame nags a person constantly, and I feel Blanche sought relief through bedding young men as desire causes one to momentarily forget. Maybe that is why she had so many affairs, and is able to live an illusion and be aware upon her reality at the same time.

    A truly brilliant piece written by a masterful mind.

    Thank you,


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