From Stella Kowalski's point of view, what were her opinions on Blanche and on Stanley before, during and after the duration of the play, 'A Streetcar Named Desire'? (eg. what did Stella think...

From Stella Kowalski's point of view, what were her opinions on Blanche and on Stanley before, during and after the duration of the play, 'A Streetcar Named Desire'? (eg. what did Stella think about them before and after she left Belle Reve & what is she feeling years after Blanche has been put into a mental institution)

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lusie0520 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Stella is caught in the middle between two very powerful personalities.  When she was living at Belle Rive, Blanche was her big sister, a person she looked up to, and she naturally falls back into the habit of waiting on her and deferring to her.  “You never did give me a chance to say much, Blanche. So I just got in the habit of being quiet around you.”  Even when her sister is insulting her, she does not defend herself.  “God love you for a liar! Daylight never exposed so total a ruin! But you--you've put on some weight, yes, you're just as plump as a little partridge! And it's so becoming to you!”  As the play goes on, however, we see Stella’s opinion of her sister changing.  When Stanley tells her things she does not want to hear about her sister, she is visibly upset.  “Set down! I've got th' dope on your big sister, Stella. STELLA: Stanley, stop picking on Blanche.”  He tells her about her sister’s reputation, “And as time went by she became a town character. Regarded as not just different but downright loco--nuts.”  At this point, Stella has no choice but to acknowledge that her sister has lost her mind.  Between these revelations and being told that Stanley has raped Blanche, Stella, in order to save her own marriage, has to agree to send her to an institution.  “I couldn't believe her story and go on living with Stanley.”  However, Stella’s outburst at the end of the play tells us that she will feel guilty about this for a very long time:  “Oh, my God, Eunice help me! Don't let them do that to her, don't let them hurt her! Oh, God, oh, please God, don't hurt her! What are they doing to her? What are they doing?”

Stella’s relationship with Stanley is not a complicated one.  He is big, strong, and powerful, and she likes that about him.  We are given the impression that, prior to the beginning of the play, their life was happy and just what Stella wanted.  “STELLA [half to herself]: I can hardly stand it when he is away for a night... When he's away for a week I nearly go wild! And when he comes back I cry on his lap like a baby... [She smiles to herself.]”  Clearly, Stella thinks her life is perfect.  She has a man, friends, and a baby on the way.  As the play goes on, however, Stella spends more time with her sister than with her husband, and some of the “Belle Rive” wears off on her.  This leads to the fight between them.  “[Stanley stalks fiercely through the portieres into the bedroom. He crosses to the small white radio and snatches it off the table. With a shouted oath, he tosses the instrument out the window.] STELLA: Drunk--drunk--animal thing, you! [She rushes through to the poker table] “Through her sister’s eyes, Stella begins to see Stanley for who he is, and though she loves him, she cannot help but point out his flaws.  “STELLA: Mr. Kowalski is too busy making a pig of himself to think of anything else! STANLEY: That's right, baby. STELLA: Your face and your fingers are disgustingly greasy. Go and wash up and then help me clear the table. [He hurls a plate to the floor.] “It is only when her sister leaves that Stella can return to her old life.  “STANLEY [a bit uncertainly]: Stella? [She sobs with inhuman abandon. There is something luxurious in her complete surrender to crying now that her sister is gone.] STANLEY [voluptuously, soothingly]: Now, honey. Now, love. Now, now, love. [He kneels beside her and his fingers find the opening of her blouse] Now, now, love. Now, love.... “The reader is left with the impression that, although Stella will feel guilty, she had already chosen her life with Stanley over the long lost Belle Rive, and her sister.

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A Streetcar Named Desire

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