Poor Stella

         In Tennessee William's 1947 Pulitzer Prize winning play, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Elia Kazan's 1951 film production, the lives of Stella and Stanley Kowalski are turned upside down whenever Stella's sister, Blanche comes to stay with them.

         Stanley (Marlon Brando) and Blanche (Vivien Leigh) are both attention craving and selfish. It seems as if, when they are in a room, they take up all the space. These characters clearly clash throughout both the play and the film because their personalities are so similar. Stanley is of a very different background from that of the sisters. Stella (Kim Hunter) looks down on him because of this. She even refers to him as a monkey. I think that Stanley resents Blanche for coming in and taking attention away from him. Poor Stella has to cater to Blanche's every need because of her sensitive nerves. Stanley feels that Blanche is influencing Stella negatively. He remembers when he pulled Stella off of those columns and they were happy. Stanley acts as if he is concerned that Blanche is damaging his relationship with Stella when actually he is only worried about the fact that she is getting more of Stella's attention than he is. Stanley is sick of Stella trying to cater to Blanche and encouraging him to do the same. Stanley and Blanche do not get along, only because they both want to be the center of attention.

         I feel so sorry for Stella in this play and film because both Stanley and Blanche mistreat her. Poor Stella must be sensitive not to harm her sister's "bad nerves." In doing this, Stella must sugarcoat everything and assist Blanche in her every need, despite the facts that she is pregnant and her relationship with her husband is suffering. Stella feels that she must tiptoe around Blanche to ensure that she does not have a nervous breakdown. Stanley also mistreats Stella. Stella must also cater to Stanley because, if she does not, he beats her. Stanley's abuse is a means for him to have control over Stella. Stanley and Blanche both have control over Stella. I think that this is very sad.

Whitni Steele

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