A Streetcar Named Desire - Part 3
If I had a dime for every foul word exchanged between either my sister or husband I’d be half way to riches by now, same as if I had a leg of meat for every time the favour was returned, I could feed both sides of the tracks - A Streetcar Named Desire introduction. It’s the hardest thing…when the two most important people in your life don’t connect. You spend hours, days, and months trying to figure out where it all went wrong? How could two people who mean so much to you mean nothing to each other? The answer is simple: When your sister is bridging on insane and your husband’s brutal nature takes a turn for the worst, you know that your life is crumbling around you. And its then that you panic.
Imagine standing at a crossroad, you have a choice… no not a choice, more like an ultimatum. You could turn right, the journey to your past. You understand this route; it’s a route you’ve taken before. You know the twist and turns that route offers you. Do you follow it? Or do you turn left and take the second road, the road representing your future. You feel safe, you feel strong, and you feel in control. You are aware that there will be obstacles along the way, but you can do it because you’re not alone. What do you do? – Well, you’d do what any other person would do, follow your future, right?
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I’ve worked hard to get where I am. I know it’s nothing special, but it’s special to me. I’m building something here. A family. Something I never had before to call my own. I had Blanche, dear Blanche…my darling sister. The mere mention of her name overwhelms me with guilt. My only consolation i have is the love I still have for her, and the hope that Blanche will get better, that she will grow stronger. Strong like my Stanley. There is a man who makes me go weak at the knees. ‘Where’s my dinner?’ he belts, ‘In the fridge, honey’ I reply. He is a man who knows what he wants. And I am lucky enough to be on his list. That’s exactly why I couldn’t leave him, I could never leave him.
Pig – Polack – Disgusting – Vulgar – Greasy, I heard Blanche shout out. She’s never been one to hold her tongue our Blanche. But I still love her. It’s been hard having her here, there’s been tension in the house, tension so thick you could slice it with a knife. A certain sort of awkwardness in the air. She had to go…didn’t she? She couldn’t have stayed…could she?. There was no choice, Blanche had to go, this was the one way I could save her, this is the one way I could control her. Thank goodness for my Stanley, always my shoulder to cry on. I know he was 100% behind me all the way. We all knew from the minute she arrived from Belle-Reve that we would sooner or later have to say goodbye.
Of she went. Like a pig to the slaughter. Running wild. Desperate. Lonely. Oh dear, I hope she wasn’t lonely. She did always depend on the kindness of strangers. I do hope those strangers we’re kind. There it is, do you hear it? Peace, silence, until…’Stella!’… Back to reality. My darling husband… always my shoulder to cry on.
A Streetcar Named Desire
From the beginning of the play, Stella is torn between the two most important people in her life. She is under immense pressure as she battles to support her sister and please her husband simultaneously. Blanche and Stanley conflict with each other and therefore make things unbearable for Stella.
In scene 8 Stanley and Blanche undergo an argument at the dinner party. Stanly seems to be irritated easily by Blanche, which anchors the reason for their inability to get on well together. He shows aggression as he loses all calmness and shouts ‘Quiet in there!’ From this we can see his short temper with Stella’s sister. Although Stella tries her best to ‘laugh feebly’ when needed to, in order to cover up for Stanley’s behavior, which is just another method of protecting and defending Stanley. She is worried to upset Blanche, and therefore pretends that everything is fine to avoid hurting her feelings. In this scene, Stella favors Blanche over Stanley. It is apparent that she see’s Stanley as strong enough to hold himself. She makes remarks such as ‘Mr. Kowalski is to busy making a pig of himself’. This is said to reassure Blanche that she should pay no attention to Stanley. She is simply upset by the way he has treated her. This signifies her love for her sister, and also her acknowledgement of her fragile state. This idea was explored through my monologue as I wrote that Stella has a ‘longing that Blanche will grow strong, like her Stanley’. This paints the idea that Stella see’s Stanley as powerful and more then capable to take this verbal abuse. She doesn’t feel as if she needs to tip toe around him which reinforces his strength.
We see a change in both characters as the play progresses. Stanley is introduced as the hegemonic male within the play. This person doesn’t alter; and it is this that attracts Stella towards him. He is a man who would offer her the world. Family, love, shelter, everything she has ever wanted. I also attempted to explore this idea as I used Stanley as a symbol of her future, a way to move forward. However, this perception changes as the play continues. As we reach the climactic scene, Stanley is very quick tempered, perhaps fuelled by the alcohol he has consumed. He is then violent towards her and Blanche. This adds to Stella’s pressure of trying to prove to Blanche that she is happy with her life. Which she feels is important for her sister to know and understand. I tried to explore this connotation within my monologue as I speak of Stanley’s ‘brutal nature’ clashing with Blanche’s fragile state.
There is competition between the two characters. With Stella being the main prize. This idea is present throughout the book. When alone with Stella both Blanche and Stanley act different supporting the idea that they bring the worst out in each other. Stanley is loving and affectionate. This is evident in scene 8 when Stanley says ‘it’s gonna be alright again between you and me, the way it was’. This quote also signifies that things have changed since Blanche has been there. We understand that Stanley see’s Blanche as a problem as she is very untrustworthy. It is clear that he doesn’t like her. Stella is torn between what her husband attempts to persuade her with, and what she feels she truly knows. Stella’s character becomes increasingly unhappy, which I tried to make evident in the monologue as I described the guilt she felt for her actions towards Blanche. As the monologue progresses, I attempted to explore Stella’s mind on a deeper level, we see her confusion and constant battle of thoughts, ‘She had to go…didn’t she?’.
It was common in those times for the husband to be the head of the house hold, and the principle wage earner. It was important to be the predominant bread winner of the family. I tried to incorporate this social and historical context into the monologue to prove that the play is set, and that Blanches attempt to rebuild her life in New Orleans was doomed from the start. Stella was always going to follow Stanley’s lead; he is a strong minded man which draws Stella in. I used a slight play on words, saying ‘leg of meat’ to connote that he is the hegemonic male within the play, who Stella surrenders to.
Overall, through my monologue I attempted to explore Stella’s role in the tragic downfall of her sister. The constant rivalry between Blanche and Stanley is a key feature in her life, so I aimed to make this point key also in my monologue. It is important to realize that Stella is not a weak character; she is torn between two people, and at times may seem quieter, but in fact has her own opinion on a lot of topics, which I made clearly evident in this monologue. In terms of Blanche’s tragic downfall, I believe it was inevitable, and Stella through love, affection and also fear allowed Blanche to be taken away.