In what way is the attraction between Mitch and Blanche different from that between Stanley and Stella?In Williams' play "A Streetcar Named Desire."

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parkerlee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If Mitch flutters around Blanche much as a moth to the light, he knows inasmuch that he might "get his wings burned." Later in the story, Stanley even threatens Blanche to tell Mitch about the episode of the hotel where she had been a "call girl" for a time. (Whether he actually did or not is not in the script.) Blanche is older than Mitch and tries "to soften things up," even her wrinkles, under the tinted hues of her paper lantern. When Stanley snatches it away, he is vindicating for harsh reality instead of Blanches appeal to "magic." Mitch is in a no-win situation when it comes to Blanche, but it seems he wants to enjoy the "illusion" (as being white, pure, clean, noble) of her as longs as it lasts.

Stella, however, has no false aspirations concerning Stanley. Reproved for having married beneath her, she accepts her Polish husband as he is - putting up with his coarse language, drinking, and his card-playing buddies with a "zen attitude." Ironlically, Stella "the star" is very down-to-earth, and this is probably the saveguard of their marriage. If it is her mistake to have believed her husband instead of her sister concerning the incident of rape while she was at hospital, it seems at the end of the play that the couple will find its delicate balance soon enough after Blanche's departure. If Mitch had an ephemerial  erotic attraction to Blanche, Stella and Stanley's relationship is purely visceral, but it "sticks."

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A Streetcar Named Desire

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