The Fight that Never Ends until It Ends

        In the play A Streetcar Named Desire, written by Tennessee Williams in 1947, Stella (Kim Hunter) and Stanley Kowalski (Marlon Brando) in Elia Kazan's 1951 movie, continually fight and makeup--far from the ideal marriage. Stella stays with Stanley most likely because she feels she cannot do any better and perhaps because she fears for her life. When Blanche (Vivien Leigh) is thrown into the middle of it all, she mixes things up just enough for the never-ending cycle to end in the movie, as it does not in the original play.

         Stella falls into the stereotype of good girls liking bad boys. Stanley, who possesses the patience of a two-year-old, easily loses his temper, mainly from consuming too much alcohol. This is a dangerous combination for the two characters, with Stanley losing his grip on things and smashing the house to pieces and Stella getting upset and running upstairs. However, in a matter of hours, they make up, with everything right as rain again until the next dangerous bout.

         A perfect example of how easily Stanley gets upset is poker night. Blanche turns a radio on, it is not loud, nor does it interrupt the poker game, but Stanley does not want it on. Without hesitation, he takes the radio, throws it out the window, and then proceeds to destroy a good portion of the house in his fit of anger, while hitting the pregnant Stella. In the aftermath of this episode, Stanley yells up to Stella that he is sorry and that he had not known what he was doing as a result of omit--what he had been his drinking that night. Stella acts upset but also lustful as she walks down to greet him but does not say more than a few words before rushing into his arms.

         The continual abuse endured by Stella and Blanche is unacceptable, especially when Stanley rapes Blanche. It is only after the rape and when Stanley covers up the rape by sending Blanche to an insane asylum, that Stella snaps out of it. Stella then swears, "Never again" will she go back with him. Thus, in the movie, unlike the play, she puts an end to the cycle of violence and forgiveness between Stanley and her.

Matt Innes

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