A Lesson Learned

         Honestly, before this class I would snub my nose at a black-and-white film because I felt if it is old, then it obviously was not any good, and it was sure to be cheesy. Needless to say, after viewing Elia Kazan's 1951 film version of Tennessee Williams' 1947 play, A Streetcar Named Desire, I was hooked. Not only is it not cheesy, but it also has an element of realism that one would be hard-pressed to find today. I was so impressed by Marlon Brando's ability to become such a believable bipolar character as Stanley Kowalski in the film.

         When one really analyzes this character, one will see many layers. There is the soft, loving, sensitive side to Stanley, which is in constant battle with his harsh, "common," and highly explosive temperamental side. This is a role that should not be attempted by an amateur actor, or much of the depth of the character can be lost. As an actor myself, I have encountered the occasional person that does not realize that I am just an actor, and not really the character he or she saw on stage or film. But I must admit, it is hard to believe there is no real Stanley Kowalski since Brando portrays him so realistically.

         I am always the one to criticize women that go back to men that have assaulted them; however, luckily I have never been put in that situation myself. I really feel that Brando helps me to see why women stay with abusive men. The women may occasionally have to put up with a little abuse, but they feel it is worth it for happiness the rest of the time. I would have never thought that someone could make me sympathize with a man that hits his pregnant wife, but I feel as though I really understand Stanley.

         Of course, this does not mean I think it is now all right to hit women, but it does mean that I can sympathize with battered women instead of considering them ignorant.

Chrishell Stause

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