Murty walks around the room, reading from his copy of A Streetcar Named Desire." Elizabeth watches him nervously, unsure of what to do.
"Sorry about that Elizabeth, I lost my place in the play. Where were we again?," Murty asks, flipping through his book.
"Were at Scene Seven," Elizabeth mutters.
"Ah, thats right. Scene Seven. The place where the real fun begins," Murty laughs. "Tell me about Stanley in this scene. What does he find out about Blanche, and what does he do with that information?"
Elizabeth nervously scans the pages, trying to find the information. "Stanley, uh, found out some stuff about Blanche. He, um, found out that she was asked to leave town."
"Why was she asked to leave town?"
"Because she she seduced one of her students," Elizabeth replies softly.
Murty glances at her quizzically. "Yes, she seduced one of her high school English students."
**In the car, Nikolass ears pique as he listens to their exchange. This could be it, he thinks.**
Elizabeth quickly glances at Murty before casting her eyes away. "Anyway, Stella, Blanches sister, doesnt believe that her sister was like that. Stanley insists it was true."
"Why is Stanley so insistent about Blanches past?"
"Because he hates her," Elizabeth replies.
Murty raises an eyebrow. "Does he?"
"Why else would he try to hurt her so much? Stanley goes out of his way to destroy Blanche."
"Are you saying that Blanche is blameless? Because if you are, were reading a different play. How did Blanche treat Stanley?," Murty questions, taking a seat on his desk.
"Pretty badly," Elizabeth says softly.
"Speak up, Elizabeth," Murty commands.
"Blanche made fun of Stanley every chance she got. She called him stupid, and an animal. She said that her sister deserved a better man than him."
"Why would she say something like that?"
"Because she thought it was true. It was true. Stanley was a chauvinist pig."
"But Blanche was attracted to him, wasnt she?" Elizabeth nervously looks at Murty. "Wasnt she?"
Elizabeth nods. "Yes."
Murty grins. "Okay, that covers Scene Seven. Tell me about Scene Eight. What happens with Mitch?"
"He breaks off his engagement to Blanche after he learns about her past."
"Mitch attacks her."
"Yes, he does. What happens?"
"Blanche fights him and gets away," Liz replies, starting to feel uneasy. "She runs to the window and yells fire, drawing attention to herself.
Murty starts to walk around the classroom. "Correct. Ok, finally, we have the climax of the play. Williams has been building up to this pointthe confrontation between Stanley and Blanche. Describe it for me."
"Stanley comes home from the hospital. Stella hasnt had their baby yet. Blanche gets really nervous, because she doesnt want to be alone with Stanley."
"Shes scared of him," Elizabeth whispers.
"Is she? Or is she afraid to be alone with him because she has feelings for him?"
"I think shes scared of him," Elizabeth reiterates.
Murty shrugs. "Okay Go on."
"Blanche tells Stanley that some guy named Shep is going to take her away on a cruise. Stanley implies that Shep wants more than friendship from Blanche. There is no Shep; its just another one of Blanches fantasies. Stanley knows it."
Murty nods. "Right. Lets pick it up with Stanley exiting the bathroom. What happens?"
"Stanley has changed into pajamas. He threatens Blanche, and she gets really scared. She smashes a bottle to get a weapon against him. Stanley just keeps coming at her. She swings the bottle at him, but Stanley blocks her ." Lizs voice grows soft. "She collapses and he carries her into the bedroom."
"Then what happens?"
"I dont know," Elizabeth mumbles.
"What do you mean you dont know? Didnt you finish the play?," Murty asks, confused. "Read it now."
"I, uh, no I want to go home," Elizabeth says softly.
"Lets just finish this first. What happens to Blanche?"
"Stanley rapes her!," Elizabeth cries, her eyes flashing.
Murty looks taken aback, at first. "Does he?" Elizabeths mouth falls. "Earlier in the play, Blanche fights like mad to keep Mitch from raping her. Now, however, she doesnt fight back. When Stanley knocks away the bottle, Blanche gives in. Was it rape, or was Blanche horrified that she gave into her passion for this man, and thus cried rape?"
"Cried rape? Why would anyone want to say they were raped if they werent? Are you crazy?," Elizabeth shrieks. "Why would someone lie about that? Stanley raped her. He humiliated and broke her down! She tells her sister, and sheBlancheis the one that gets sent away. Stanley raped her and Blanche is the one who gets locked up. What is wrong with you?," she screams.
"Im just presenting an alternate interpretation. Some scholars argue that what Stanley does isnt rape. Blanche was attracted to Stanley, and he to her. She cries rape to Stella because shes ashamed that she gave into her feelings for this man who she considers to be an animal," Murty explains. "This is Blanches final attempt to get Stella away from Stanley."
"Youre blaming Blanche? It wasnt her fault that she was raped," Liz cries, grabbing the knife out of her pocket. "She didnt deserve it."
"Please, not another word, Liz! Calm down! Please, settle down," Murty says, walking towards her. "Its just a play. Im just explaining--"
"--Get away from me," Elizabeth yells, pulling out her knife. "Get away from me or I will kill you."
Murtys eyes flash with fear. "Are you on something, Elizabeth?"
"Drugs? You think Im on drugs? You raped me!," Elizabeth screams.
To be continued