“A Streetcar Named Desire” is a play about a a husband and wife, Stanley and Stella, who get visited by the wife’s sister, Blanche. Stella and Blanche come from a weathly backround, whereas Stanley is of poor and polish descent, which underlines the basic conflict and theme of the play which is the battle of social classes. Stanley and Blanche seem to occupy opposing roles; Stanley is the masculine, hard working blue collar worker who at times can be overly chauvinistic. Blanche, on the other hand, is a flirty materialistic woman who always seems to not be able to be truthful and directful about things, preferring instead to tell “white lies”, which perhaps causes her more trouble than the are worth. And then there is Stella, the faithful wife of Stan, who is perhaps the link between the two extremes. Stella grew up with Blanche, and is familiar with the posh life style that the two used to live together in before Stella “ran” away. However, she also is the wife of Stanley, the hard working Polish man, so she is also exposed to his lifestyle as well.
Stella seems to be the piece of the puzzle that links Blanche and Stanley together, if not only physically and legally. She seems to be the mediator of the two extremes, often times trying to quell or calm each one do to the other’s actions. For example, when Stanley finds out that Blanche has sold the sister’s family’s house, “Belle Reve”, Stanley immediately goes into a rage, accusing Blanche of selling the house in order to buy herself lavish items, here is a passage from this exchange;
Stanley: “Look at these feathers and furs that she come here to preen herself in? What’s this here? A solid-gold dress, I believe!”…
Stella: “Those are inexpensive summer furs that Blanche has had a lone time.”
Stanley: “I got an acquaintance who deals in this sort of merchandise… I’m willing to bet you there’s thousands of dollars invested in this stuff here!”
Stella: “Don’t be such an idiot, Stanley!” (Page 34, A streetcar named desire).
As we see from this passage, Stella continues to rebuff Stanley “ridiculous” claims, always having faith in her sister and choosing to be the more rational and less rash individual in the relationship. However, this behavior is not exclusive to her husband, but she also treats Blanche with the same attitude when Blanche gets angry with Stella after Stanley beats her after a drunk poker night;
Blanche: “In my opinion? You’re married to a madman!”
Blanche: “Yes you are, your fix is worse than mine is! Only you’re not being sensible about it… And that isn’t right, you’re not old! you can get out.”
Stella: “I’m not in anything I want to get out of.”
Stella continues to play the mediator between Blanche and Stanley, a role she is determined to play as long as there is dispute between her sister and her husband. Stella, although she is perhaps not considered the protagonist or the antagonist, plays a class of character that is the opposing force to the clashing of these two characters. Without Stanley and Blanche together, Stella’s character becomes obsolete and meaningless. This is perhaps a metaphor for Stella’s life, in that she must strive to keep her family and matrital ties, or be doomed to be consumed by the one that is not given up on by Stella. The role of the mediator is the essence of the character Stella in the play A Streetcar Named Desire.
Word count: 590