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First impressions of Sweet Bird of Youth

• Chance and Blanche are similar because they are both afraid of losing their
youth.
• Stage directions are important because they reflect the messages behind
the dialogue and actions.
• He’s not in love with Heavenly but in love with his youth and she’s the
last part of his youth left.
• Ironic that she’s called Heavenly because she’s dead inside as she is minus
a womb.
• He’s in love with the memory of her doesn’t know the new her. She is his
youth.
• Lots of references to youth and music, wind, birds etc which creates an
atmosphere.
• Lots of gruesome, harshness, aggression, violence and racism.
• Chance is a good guy deep down
• Boss is a STANLEY!!! He’s egotistical like Stanley.
• Sex!-Chance is a male prostitute. He’s like Blanch, selling himself.
• Princess demands sex from Chance-like Stanley does to Blanche.
• Heavenly is destroyed by sex. Sex is dangerous.
• Don’t do sex and drugs!!!

Chance:
He’s an opportunist.
He knows he’s getting old, so tries to find ways to retain his youth, the main
way being sex.
Similar to Blanche-he wants to live in a fantasy world.
He wants to recapture his youth through Heavenly, similar to Blanche again
who wanted to recapture the time with her husband.
His name is symbolic-he’s spontanious; he takes risks, similar to a casino-
always wins.
Nothing against him, but has some faults. He’s quite superficial and
materialistic.
Stops at nothing to get what he wants.
He embodies the theme of youth being fleeting and transitory.
You can’t spend your whole adult life, yearning for your youth.
He’s a nice guy deep down, but doesn’t do himself any favours.
Blanche and Chance are similar as they can’t move on from their stage of
youth.
He’s got a superior attitude and is quite selfish.
Stage directions on page 17 – chance runs a comb through his hair… suggests
vanity and is quite like Stanley. He appears to be really good looking.
Page 27 Chance – “I used to be the best looking boy…” Boy is interessting as
that is what you call a young person.
Boss Finlay-

Dislike him with a passion.


Selfish, doesn’t respect what Heavenly wants.
He’s arrogant, powerfull, takes advantage of his power.
He’s a slave to money.
He’s a bully, and violent. (Miss Lucy incident).
He’s not chivalrous.
He’s like a Stanley and thinks he’s dominant over woman.
He tries to marry-off Heavenly and uses her as a visual prompt to portray
purity and innocence.
A horrible man.
He acts like he cares about people but in reality he doesn’t.
He’s a massive contradiction.
He’s a brutal man.
He’s the typical politician, he’s ambitious and doesn’t care who he tramples
on.
He parades his daughter around.
He’s ostentatious.
“boss” – the name puts you off hin, he’s a power hungry freak! By giving
hiself that name its like he believes he’s more superior.
He’s shrewd, and has his finger on the pulse.

Princess

Attention seeking and over dramatic.


The boundaries between her stage life and real life are becoming blurred.
She’s an ageing star trying to seek an escape from the ravages of time.
She’s similar to Blanche who’s afraid of losing her youth and finds herself
seeking solace in the delights in younger men.
We get our first impression on the first page when she’s wearing a mask which
shows she’s hiding herself from reality (similar to Blanche and her lantern)
Williams likes his silky PJ’s and fabrics. Satin and silk are indulgent fabrics.
She’s like a rabbit caught in headlights. She makes herself vulnerale by
relying on other people – which is what Blanche does.
She doesn’t know who Chance is when she wakes up- she’s promiscous, he’s
a scarlet woman.
She’s an alcoholic and a drug addict.
Chance unmasks her and she gasps wildly= like he was unmasking her to
society.
She must be really lonely if she’s willing to rely on and trust a stranger.
(Blanch “I have always relied on the kindness of strangers…”) just like the
princess.
Page 26 Chance “You’re full of complexes plump lady…..” Princess “Have I
let go of my figure?!” Blanche is obsessed with her looks also.
Chance and Princess are alot like Blanche, with a sprinkle of Stanley!
Princess is called Princess but she’s not actually royal, and Blanche’s name
means pure and its been a long time sionce she’s been pure.
She seems quite pathetic from the start. She always needs looked after. She’s a
nymphomaniac because she pays Chance for sex and treats him like an escort
which is relevant as one of the themes is sex.
She pays for Chance as he’s like a toyboy who makes her feel young again.
Chance is like an escort-you get the whole meal deal.
Blanche is the village bike, and chance is like a mobility scooter with more
functions.
“(SD) she motions him kemine towards her…….” Chance appears to be
young. The princess knows whats she likes.
In the end she gets a chance. Chance, despite his name doesn’t and gives up.
“Chance shakes his head and the princess gives up” p111
The last thing Chance says is important “I don’t ask for your pity, just
for your understanding” He has recognised that you can’t defeat time, one of
the main themes. P111
Quite poetic and intelligent, down to her training as an actress “Your gold hair
was wreathed with laurel but the gold is thinning and the laurel has withered”
p107
The princess and Blanche seem quite similar to Tenessee Williams because his
lifestyle was extravagant.
Princess and Blanche both have a central flaw in that they’re both attracted to
sex, and youth.
“Her blue sequined gown is zipped or partially zipped, her hair is dishevelled,
her eyes have a dazed, drugged brightness” P86
Blanche and the Princess are both dependant on drugs
Nobody gives Chance a chance.

Heavenly Finlay

More of an accessory character. A symbol rather than a character.


Sheltered.
Ironic how she’s the symbol of purity when she’s had hysterectomy.
Her name implies a spiritural journey. Not on this earth, something Chance
can’t touch.
Heavenly suggests you’re dead, and she is dead inside.
Like an object or a playing piece for other people’s purposes, her dad uses her
as part of his campaign.
She is in contrast to princess
Suggests she is perfect but she has been dirtied by Chance.
P60 is Heavenly’s first appearance, although we hear about her before this.
We hear that George is going to marry her (the doctor who performed the
operation on her)