depend on the kindness of strangers

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depend on the kindness of strangers

A reference to the final words of Blanche DuBois, a character in A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams: "Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."
1. To rely on the generosity and goodwill of those around us, especially those we don't know personally. Many of us these days choose or have to leave home in search of work. Without friends and family around us, we must depend on the kindness of strangers. When I was in my twenties, I used to travel the world with nothing but a backpack full of clothes, depending on the kindness of strangers to get by each day.
2. To rely on outside support or assistance, especially financially. As the company's long-term outlook worsens, they are having to depend more and more on the kindness of strangers to remain operational. Basing our country's economy on cross-border trade is a bit like depending on the kindness of strangers at times—it can dry up when economic issues hit on a global scale and other countries start spending less.
See also: depend, kindness, of, on, stranger
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

depend on the kindness of strangers

A form of self-deception. The phrase comes from Tennessee Williams’s play A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), in which Blanche DuBois, with delusions of grandeur, has a destructive effect on her sister Stella’s marriage to Stanley Kowalski. Stanley rapes her, leading to her nervous breakdown, and commits her to a mental hospital. As the doctor leads her off, she says, “Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” The phrase “kindness of strangers” occasionally appears in other contexts, as in “With no rain for a month, my garden depends on the kindness of strangers.” Sue Miller used it in her novel The Lake Shore Limited (2010). Talking about two characters in her play, the playwright said: “Well, you are not Jay . . . a guy who’s betraying his wife. And I’m not Elena. I’m not . . . dependent upon the kindness of strangers.”
See also: depend, kindness, of, on, stranger
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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