Does Stanley or Stella show signs of low self esteem or emotional dependance with the domestic violence that goes on in A Streetcar Named Desire?

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literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would have to say that both Stella and Stanley, in "A Streetcar Named Desire", demonstrate signs of low self-esteem and emotional dependence. Given that the most famous quote from the movie is when Stanley is calling the Stella after abusing her shows his own dependence on her.

Stella is unable to leave Stanley after the abusive night when the men were playing poker. Even though she left the flat right after being struck by Stanley, she returns to her home because she cannot live without him  When Blanche tells Stella that Stanley is not a good man, Stella defends him and tells Blanche that she does not understand.

Another example that shows Stella's dependence on Stanley is when she chooses to believe him over Blanche regarding the rape. Stella cannot live with Stanly and believe that he raped Blanche- she chooses her husband over her sister.

The relationship between Stella and Stanley is the typical abuse/forgive realtionship depicted in many medias today. These realtionsahip exist solely on the dependance that each partner has on the other.

mkcapen1 | Student

In the play A Streetcar named Desire I would have to say that Stanley demonstrates the low self-esteem.  He is a very masculine man who is also very animalistic in his nature.  However, he knows that he married a woman who came from a better background than he did. 

Stella presents more intelligent than Stanley based on her manners.  She is also far more patient and kind.  Stanley knows this and has to live up to what he wants her to believe that he is, a strong man and good provider.  However, he knows that he can never provide for her in the manner that she deserves.

Stella demonstrates that she knows her lifestyle is not up to the level of her past.  When Blanch comes to visit and their friends are coming over, Stella tries to explain that to her that their friends are not the class of people that Blanch may expect.  She is also shares that she had to work hard just to get by after she had left their home in New Orleans.  Her attraction to Stanley is part physical and part psychological.  She is generally happy with him, but their marriage is in a fairly early stage.


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A Streetcar Named Desire

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